Monday, March 4, 2013
Where Do You Go for Query Feedback?
In my last post, I listed quite a few resources for getting your query into shape. But once you've polished your query or pitch to shiny perfection, you'll need someone to give you helpful feedback.
It's preferable to find at least one reader who has not read the actual book. This way they can tell you where they got lost, where they may have misinterpreted plot elements, whether they could keep the characters straight. Here are some places you might find just the feedback you're looking for:
Absolute Write's Query Letter Hell (you'll need to register to be able to see the Share Your Work forum, where Query Letter Hell lives)
Nathan Bransford's forums
Verla Kay's Boards
Ladies Who Critique
Query Tracker's Forum
Any of these can help you get some fresh eyes on the page, but only post if you're ready to hear honest feedback--because you're likely to get it!
Conferences big and small almost always have query critique opportunities, public or private. Plus, some paid editorial services offer free query critiques as a way to see if their style is a good match for yours. And many writing-related auctions (like my upcoming Pens for Paws Auction) are offering chances at critiques and feedback from agents.
If you still want more, there are places to get your query publicly shredded (or better yet, learn from other people's mistakes before yours gets a chance to see the light of day):
Miss Snark's blog
You cannot submit to those last two for critique since they're no longer active, but I highly recommend working through the archives.
Any query blunders you'd like to share to save the rest of us from making the same mistakes? Confession: my first query was two printed pages long, because I got clever and combined a one-page synopsis with my bio. Don't try this at home!