Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Query Wars

Today I'm talking queries. Not cookies? I know, I'm shocked with you ;)

Queries are a necessary evil. I don't jump for joy when the time comes to write one, but I get why they are needed.

After all, if we can't get the gist of our book baby down in three paragraphs, it could mean our MS might not be ready. Don't believe me? Check out this post by Janice Hardy about 'What your query says about your book.' A super helpful eye opener.

Another query goddess is the frawesome Elana Johnson. Elana not only gives her eBook 'From The Query To The Call' away for free, but she has a section on her blog dedicated to queries. Did I mention how much I love her method?

Want a bit of extra help? C.J.Redwine runs some great query and synopsis workshops.

And you know we've got an awesome query critique contest going on, right? Well, you can enter it here. Not only will you be in with the chance for a query critique from agent Natalie Fischer or Josh Getzler, but you could win a query critique from one of us!

There's no harm in spending a good portion of time on your query, but make sure the MS is query ready as well. After all, a strong query gets you in the door. A stronger MS keeps you there.

What about you? Query tips? Handy hints? Feel free to share.


  1. Do your query first - before the book's written. When you first get the idea and start sketching it out in your head, there aren't any extras, there aren't 10,000 subplots and extra characters to make you think a prospective agent needs to know about them. You have the main characters and the main story arc, which is what you focus on in the query.

    If the story arc changes while writing, you can adjust it accordingly, but you'll save yourself a tone of headaches if you summarize a simple story over the complex one.

  2. I have to start writing the query for my new WIP. I'd rather do it now than just before I start querying again. Too bad I'm still exhausted from the last one. That took a lot of work and feedback to get it right.

    So my tip is do the query not necessarily first, but certainly during early drafts. And give it distance like you're supposed to give your ms. ;)

  3. I don't think I knew about the query contest. I'll have to check!

    My tip is to read Query Shark's blog. She shreds the queries so writers can rebuild 'em.

  4. I'm not there yet but I've got all my resources tagged and ready for when I am.

  5. At the time my MS was out to my crit partners I actually worked on my query and pitch to get that honed and not be away from my story for too long. I then brought it to my RWA group and had them help me to hone it. I think it worked pretty well atleast.

  6. I always write my query first! It helps me set the tone for the story and see it as a whole before it becomes a tangled mess of random scenes and plot holes.

  7. Awesome links! I learned from the helpful Absolute Write forums with one my first books that my query gave away plot holes! I know- crazy. There's so much valuable query help out there. I plan to make better use of it this time around.

    Thanks for the post, Lindsay!

  8. I agree with Janice Hardy in that the writing in the query, if it's your own and hasn't been rewritten by others, really does reflect the writing skill found in the ms!

  9. I agree with some of the other commenters. After writing two books, THEN doing the query (and synopsis), I will NEVER do it that way again. So when starting my WiP, I made sure to write out the query before I got too "into" it, and boy does it make a difference!



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