So since I've learnt that I will have to write a query, I've been browsing the internet looking for how-tos, dos and donts. I've found tutorials, guides and hints and I have composed a query according a mix of the knowledge coming from both agents and authors. And yet everywhere I look, I find things that contradict each other, eventually leaving me at loss.

Hence I come bearing questions that I can't ask the respective authors, but can, hopefully, ask here.

I have seen your threads on queries and I've browsed the query SYW forums. They spawned more questions

1. Personalization towards the agent/agency

In most places, I've read that it's nice (and sometimes pretty vital) to add a personal tidbit about the agent/agency. Just a sentence, two tops, but add it.

Then I've read that it's actually sucking up to the agent and it should not be done.

2. How to address a query to an agency with more than 1 agent?

I haven't found an answer to this even though I looked. Everywhere they say to address the specific agent, but on many agency sites there's just 1 e-mail for queries. Do you address such query to an agency or some agent you pick from the list?

3a. When a story is a part of series, do you mention other books?

Yet again, some say: yes, write a sentence or two about the next books in the series to show the connections and sense.

While others say: don't ever do that, your story must be a stand alone.

3b. Book series - what do?

What to do if your story makes little sense as a standalone? I don't mean, makes no sense. I mean it closes up some plot parts and is a complete novel, but it REALLY would make NO sense to publish that one without the rest of them. It doesn't seem fair to omit such fact.

Some stories are way too big to fit them in one book, even if they flow naturally and are not divided into simple arcs (villain 1, villain 2, villain 3).

Think what was done in SoiAF. There are no such arcs.

4. Personal info about the author

Many say that an author should write a paragraph about themselves even if they have not been published before and have no credentials. They should write about their writing experience of any kind and why they chose this genre and not the other. Mention education, something, anything.

Today I've seen (around here) an opinion that this should never be done. Don't mention schools, writing unpublished stories or winning school competitions.

A complete contradiction, yet again.

5. Length

Then, length. I've read that there should be 2 paragraphs about the story. Not much more. Then the word count, genre, etc. Then something about you and the other parts of the cycle, if applicable.

As a contradiction I've seen queries that had 5, 6 or more paragraphs describing the story and nothing about the author.

6. Bonus question: book length

I know that an average book is 100k words long. What if a novel is twice as big? Does that warrant an automatic rejection, provided the author has not been published before? I've heard someone say that, but it sounds ridiculous. I wouldn't think publishing world is some kind of Harlequin factory with strict demands about the books lengths?

I always preferred LONG stories to short ones, no discussion. I really don't what I hear and I want someone to tell me it's no true Haha.


Alright, I think that's all for now.