The perfect query
As I’ve mentioned before, query letters are pretty important in the process of getting published – unless you want to self-publish or happen to have a rich uncle who owns a publishing house that is :p The problem of course, is crafting the perfect query letter.
After my adventures mentioned in the earlier entry with streamlining and pruning my query letter, I thought I had it down pat. That I had my query down to the essentials, that it was concise and that it flowed well and that that was all I needed. However, I have since come to realize maybe that wasn’t enough (But it never is, is it? :p)
Somewhere on one of the writing forums I frequent, (probably Absolute Write Water Cooler …) there was a thread about how sending a sample of your writing along with the query was important. I had not considered this originally. My reasoning was, that if they wanted a sample of my writing, they’d ask for it, right? Wrong! Most of the agents do not seem to ask for a sample in their submission guidelines but of course, if they had something that would help them to gauge your writing, it certainly would help, wouldn’t it?
So, I’ve started including the first chapter of my novel in text format in the body of the query e-mail now. (In this day and age of mass-scale viruses, attachments are a no-no … unless they ask for them :p) If the agent asks for a certain number or pages or chapters in their submission guidelines, then I cut it down to that length. Otherwise, I include the first chapter.
Of course, its too early at the moment to say if this tactic is paying off or not but one of the recent queries that I sent actually got a two line reason as to the rejection (they didn’t think that they did well representing humorous fiction) than the usual form rejection of "Sorry, we’re not interested". So maybe it’s working. Of course, the question is, is it working for me or against me? :p