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Madisonwrites
09-08-2008, 10:48 PM
This is for literary agents and writers who have them. I am preparing to query an agent for my new YA fantasy. I have queried agencies before (not with this tale) and been rejected every time. I've struggled to write this query according to the specified guidelines but I wonder if there's anything I can do to help my query stand out from the pack. Thanks!

Stacia Kane
09-09-2008, 12:03 AM
Make sure the book itself stands out from the rest of the pack. :)


Have you tried posting your query in Share Your Work?

Don
09-09-2008, 12:10 AM
Everybody says it's all about the work, but perfumed pink paper worked for Elle in Legally Blonde (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legally_blonde). :)

Have you been through the threads here about queries? I've seen some good advice there.

Danthia
09-09-2008, 12:42 AM
The best way to stand out is to write a professional letter with a fantastic hook. Don't know how to do that? Check out Pub Rants (blog) and look for the query letter workshop links.

That said, the idea has to be great or it won't matter how well the query is written. The book needs to be fresh, original, and offer something an agent hasn't seen a million times.

DO NOT try gimmicks to stand out. You'll just look unprofessional and will probably get a form rejection.

Jennifer_Laughran
09-09-2008, 12:50 AM
The way to really stand out and separate yourself from the pack is to FOLLOW THE DAMN DIRECTIONS! This will automatically put you in the top 1/4 of queriers.

Shocking? Unbelievable? TRUE.

Also, I'd prefer short-and-sweet to long-and-wordy. I want to know who you are and why you are querying me. Then, what this book is, who it is for, and why I should care. You can do all that in a half a page or less, and as far as I'm concerned, anything else is just filler.

But that is just my opinion, your mileage may vary.

Kirby
09-09-2008, 07:51 PM
I found that my queries that were short and to the point received better responses. If you can't think of a hook, don't do it. The biggest issue is making sure your manuscript is finished and polished. If a synopsis is requested, make sure that it's written "to code" and polished. Have a couple of versions of a synopsis ready (one page, three pages, and five pages).

ORION
09-09-2008, 08:40 PM
I second all of this-

mysterygrl
09-10-2008, 10:26 PM
Also, personalizing your query helps. (Nathan Bransford blogged about this recently.)

Good luck!

IceCreamEmpress
09-12-2008, 06:24 AM
Also, personalizing your query helps. (Nathan Bransford blogged about this recently.)


Yes, but REALLY personalize it. Don't tell them what it says on their website (as in "I see from your website that you represent mysteries")--they know what it says on their website.

Madisonwrites
09-12-2008, 07:05 AM
Actually, most of the successful queries I've read say absolutely nothing that indicates that it's personal, so I'm pretty sure you can not do this and be safe. But if you can really personalize it, go for it! If not, don't try.

Stacia Kane
09-12-2008, 02:40 PM
Actually, most of the successful queries I've read say absolutely nothing that indicates that it's personal, so I'm pretty sure you can not do this and be safe. But if you can really personalize it, go for it! If not, don't try.

Just FYI, mine wasn't personalized.

Some of mine were. If it was an agent whose blog I read every day I mentioned it and said something like "I really enjoyed your take on Subject X" or "Your sense of humor made me think you might really enjoy this project", but the one that got me my agent wasn't personalized at all and I didn't notice the request rate was any higher for personalized queries than for "straight" ones.

Madisonwrites
09-20-2008, 06:33 AM
Yeah, it doesnt' always work. But, hey, we have to share tricks of the trade! :D