Alternative Title: Why Aren’t You Reading Query Shark?
Query writing is hard – that’s why our SYW forum for queries is lovingly titled “Query Letter Hell.” But I think writers (myself included) get so wrapped up in writing 1 to 3 perfect paragraphs that capture our novels in the prettiest nutshell possible that we lose sight of how important it is get the right query (and the right flavor of query) onto the right desk.
Some agencies, like the Waxman Agency, make it easier on us by posting brief agent biographies, and listing the books they’ve represented right on the front page. One agent there, Holly Root, is described as actively seeking Urban Fantasy. That’s amazingly interesting to me, since it’s my genre, but my next step is not to roll my query off the press and fire it into her inbox. I might as well flip a coin if I do that.
Agents Tweet. They’re on Facebook. They blog. More importantly, they go to conferences and sit on panels, which are often recorded in some fashion, and they freely express opinions all over the internet. When an agent says something that rings true in your heart, that’s someone you want behind your novel. That’s who you query.
But you can’t use that in your query if you don’t look for it.
Search terms to increase your Google-Fu:
Agent’s Name + panel + 2011 (or 2010, 2009, etc.)
Agent’s Name + spotlight
Agent’s Name + interview
Agent’s Name + Name of novel they represented (See what, if anything, they’ve said about what they represent)