Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Query Time: Part One

If there is one thing an aspiring author fears and dreads, it is querying agents. For a lucky few--like my friend John--who have written the Perfect Storm of books and catch a publisher's attention, this phase is by-passed. But at some point in their career, even they will probably have need of an agent.

So, how do you go about getting one? With that elusive creature, the one-page query letter.

I'm not going to tell you how to write your query letter. That's been done to death, with more knowledge or finesse than I could possibly employ. In fact, I'm in the same boat as many of you--unagented, unpublished and trying to get there.

*Note: at the end of this post I will post links to several very informative websites dealing with these issues, and if you haven't met the Query Shark aka Janet Reed of Fine Print Literary Management, her site is a wealth of information on query letters from the perspective of the other side of the table.

What I do have is knowledge of the process, from selecting those agents you want to query based on the types of books they represent to the formatting of an actual query letter (which, believe me, can be a huge headache. I'm talking to you, Word).

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a series of articles on querying, addressing some of these issues. By sharing my experiences, I hope I can help some of you, and maybe prevent some of the same fatal mistakes I made from happening again.
To begin with, here are those links I promised:

Query Tracker: One of the best comprehensive listings of literary agents by genres they represent
Agent Query: Another good agent database
Writer's Digest: This website has it all--articles, writing prompts, q&a sessions with agents, and many other ways for the writer to connect with their craft and their community.
Nathan Bransford: Former literary agent turned children's book author.  He has written a lot of informative articles about querying from an agent's prospective.
Knight Agency: This is a literary agency which deals primarily in the romance genre. Their submissions page is a wealth of information on query letters, etiquette, other basics. 

There are plenty of other agent blogs out there full of literary advice.  We'll get into those in my next post.

Until then . . . Happy Writing!


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