Monday, November 9, 2015

Writing Series: Querying, Four Great Query Resources

Writing a successful query letter is an art form. It's a skill that requires instruction as well as practice to hone those skills.

I could fill this post with advice on query letter writing, but I won't. Better, more experienced people than me have already written volumes on this subject, so my job today is to point you in the right direction.

I've been querying for years and have come across a few resources that have been helpful to me. When I first started, I couldn't get an agent's attention to save my life, but by honing my query writing craft, I've been successful in garnering requests for full manuscripts. So, here are some of my favourite resources.

1.  Nathan Bransford's blog. An author and former literary agent, Bransford shares a treasure trove of
query writing advice. The thing I liked most about this site is his upbeat attitude. He doesn't try to discourage writers with the dismal odds that are against them, but conveys information with a you-can-do-it attitude.

2. Query Shark. Literary agent, Janet Reid, runs this no-nonsense blog that walks writers through examples of lackluster queries and how to fix them. There are hundreds of examples available, and I encourage you to read through as many as possible.

3. Agent Query. Again, tons of information and advice about query letters and literary agents. This website has a database of agents, what they represent and if they're open for submissions. There is also a sister site called Agent Query Connect, a forum where writers can network and post queries for critique. My warning with receiving critique at AQ Connect is that it's often the blind leading the blind. Many have yet to write a successful query themselves.

4.  Writer's Digest New Agent Alerts. This site shares information about new agents or agents who have transitioned to new firms and are actively building their client lists.

Once you have a stellar query letter and a list of agents who represent your type of work and who you would like to work alongside, you're ready to start querying.

If you have any questions, please post them below.

Melinda Friesen writes novels for teens and short stories for all ages. Her first novel, Enslavement, was released in November of 2014 by Rebelight Publishing Inc. She lives in Winnipeg,Manitoba Canada with her husband and four children.

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