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amkuska
11-05-2010, 04:37 AM
Those with dirty minds, shame on you. :tongue

As I prepare my query letter for (eventual) submission, I'm finding a lot of conflicting advice on the topic of where to put your novel's basic information. Size, genre, etc.

Query Shark beats it into our heads that the hook must come first, and all that other junk should be placed at the bottom. On the other hand, I just read an agent blog where the agent complained of this, and said, "Put the critical information on TOP. Then let us read the hook."

Okay, well I can move it around for the agents who specifically say which is better, but for those that don't...where does it go?

suki
11-05-2010, 04:48 AM
Those with dirty minds, shame on you. :tongue

As I prepare my query letter for (eventual) submission, I'm finding a lot of conflicting advice on the topic of where to put your novel's basic information. Size, genre, etc.

Query Shark beats it into our heads that the hook must come first, and all that other junk should be placed at the bottom. On the other hand, I just read an agent blog where the agent complained of this, and said, "Put the critical information on TOP. Then let us read the hook."

Okay, well I can move it around for the agents who specifically say which is better, but for those that don't...where does it go?

This is one of those things different people feel differently about - so, yes, for those who specify, follow their directive. For everyone else, well, follow your gut instinct. But, I guess I'd lean toward putting it at the bottom unless your pitch may confuse the agent as to genre.

My reasoning is that with the prevalence of e-readers, it's generally better for the most hooking info to hit the screen first. BUT, if your pitch could confuse the agent as to genre (ie, the MC is a child, but it's an adult novel, or your book is paranormal, but the pitch is light on paranormal details in the first paragraph, etc.), then, in those cases, put that info line first.

~suki

quicklime
11-05-2010, 05:48 AM
i like bottom--why give an agent already over-stacked with queries something to make them yawn as soon as they open?

Make the first paragraph grab them by the short hairs and force them to forget about the other 40 queries they need to comb through before lunch

jclarkdawe
11-05-2010, 05:58 AM
You might want to look at I am seeking representation ... (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97501) (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/misc/multipage.gif 1 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97501) 2 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97501&page=2)). I use to go on top, and now I'm a bottom believer. However, some queries require it in a certain place.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

amkuska
11-05-2010, 06:49 AM
jclark...you are my hero! Thank you for pointing me to this thread. It's in the share your work section, and I just assumed it was another query. Thank you!

maestrowork
11-05-2010, 07:02 AM
I used to hear "on top" but now I hear more and more favoring bottom and I kind of agree. If I were an agent and I got 500 queries a day, I'd want to see if the story interests me -- get to the point already. Don't bore me with "I am seeking representation" unless you have a recommendation or we know each other from XYZ conference. Don't bore me with word count, genre, etc. I'd most likely skimp all that to get to the meat to see if it's something I'm remotely interested, especially if the writer has done the research: I don't expect to get a mystery query if I don't represent mystery. Chances are, the writer is querying a genre I do represent. And the synopsis/pitch most likely (if it does the job right) would tell me what genre it fits into anyway. Often, by the first line or two, the agents would know whether a) it's a genre they represent and b) it's something they are NOT interested in. Only if they're still hooked they would read the rest of the query.

I can understand why some agents would prefer the vitals on top. But you know what, no agent is going to reject you because you put the information at the bottom of the query. They reject you because the story isn't what they're looking for or interested in. I'd err on not BORING a prospective agent or forcing them to skimp.

Like a good opening of a novel, the query should grab the agent's attention immediately.

An exception is, as I mentioned, if you know the agent already or have a referral. Then by all means say that up front.

Susan Littlefield
11-05-2010, 07:59 AM
Love your question, Amkuska- and welcome!

I think the hook first, with everything else following. However, I also advocate to follow the agent submission guidelines.

There is one agent who wants so many paragraphs in such and such order, with one paragraph (I think it's the final one), to tell the agent a little about yourself and why you chose to query him (if I recall, it's a him).

ink wench
11-05-2010, 04:04 PM
Another idea is to do a little of both. If it's an e-query, put the genre in the subject line of the email. I usually do Query: Title (genre). That way the agent knows what they're getting before they even open the query. Then you can add word count, etc. at the bottom.

Jamesaritchie
11-05-2010, 06:59 PM
The critical information is what the novel is about, not the word count.

And why give an agent the chance to reject your query before she even reads the hook, and the wonderful writing used to tell her what the book is about?

MJRevell
11-07-2010, 03:25 AM
Mine went:

- Personal bit + title, word count, genre of my book
- Hook
- Mini synopsis
- Bio

Christine N.
11-07-2010, 04:11 AM
I say bottom too. That way, if your hook is really great, if the word count seems too large or small, they may be less inclined to reject because of it.

Danthia
11-09-2010, 06:35 PM
I did greeting, genre, title, why I chose the agent, first, then hook, then word count and personal info at the bottom. But I also adjusted that if the agent stated a preference.

So I'd suggest doing whatever feels right to you. And for any agent you know has a preference, do it the way they like it.