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Nightd
02-24-2012, 06:57 PM
Is it worth my time to personalized my queries to every agent I submit to (basically research every agent on my list, conform to their needs, submit to their wills)


or just create a generic query?


Right now, I've only personalized a query for my dream agent after days of research on him from interviews and reading the books he's represented. Haven't sent it out yet.

I feel that if I create a different query for every agent I send to, the process is very time consuming.

quicklime
02-24-2012, 07:07 PM
Is it worth my time to personalized my queries to every agent I submit to (basically research every agent on my list, conform to their needs, submit to their wills)


or just create a generic query?


Right now, I've only personalized a query for my dream agent after days of research on him from interviews and reading the books he's represented. Haven't sent it out yet.

I feel all that research and creating the letter is very time consuming.


re-read everything you said, particular attention to what I've highlighted....


the first highlighted part would sound like good, sound business, the last would sound like the sort of person I, as an agent, would be extremely leery of entering into a business relationship with....


so other than "It's just so boooo oooooo ooooooo ringggggg" what sort of justification would you have? I can assure you several agents have, in their blogs and other writings, mentioned generic queries with a tone that ranged from mildly derisive to outright hostile.

Nightd
02-24-2012, 07:53 PM
so other than "It's just so boooo oooooo ooooooo ringggggg" what sort of justification would you have? I can assure you several agents have, in their blogs and other writings, mentioned generic queries with a tone that ranged from mildly derisive to outright hostile.

I mean, if you cater specifically to an agent, the chance of him/her asking you for more will probably go up.

But the majority of the queries I see in query hell are generic queries that can be sent to anyone.

I'm just wondering if there is anyone out there that writes a brand new query for every agent they submit to and if it is worth the time?

From reading countless agent blogs, interviews, etc, etc, I feel like every agent wants something different. Each one has their own set of rules of what should be in a query and what should not.

quicklime
02-24-2012, 08:03 PM
you always follow their rules as far as what they ask for you to submit. If they want five pages, send them five. if they want a chapter, don't send five pages because you already have that email and all you have to do is forward with scrubbed email addresses....ditto for pasted vs attachments. follow their instructions.

you always use an appropriate header, rather than "dear sir," if possible....and you absolutely don't send to five agents on a single email.

you always add PERTINENT specific information if posible, and if not, nothing, rather than making stuff up.

Beyond that, nobody is saying to completely re-write the body, but I don't think I've seen many/any blogs where they ask for completely different things in the body. Some may say "I want to hear voice" and others may say "I want to see the plot doesn't have gaping holes" but ideally any good query hits both of those anyway....so the body should be pretty solid.


I guess I'm not sure what you mean about them wanting something different....I think they may have different submission format requirements and you ignore those at your peril, but a query is a query and a good one should satisfy most agents by doing whatever they may emphasize well.

Saanen
02-24-2012, 08:22 PM
I don't do the 'personalization' thing where I come up with something pleasant to say to let the agent know I've done my research/read their clients' books/stalked them online. If I notice that an agent represented a favorite author, or if I genuinely enjoy their blog, I'll mention it. Usually I don't bother.

I do personalize the query in that I include the agent's full name in the salutation, and I include any specific information they ask for in their guidelines. But I certainly can't imagine rewriting the body of my query--the part that tells about my book--for each and every agent.

I wouldn't worry about it too much anyway. As long as your query is professional, well-written, and includes all the information the agent wants, you're probably doing better than most of the slush pile. :) If the agent isn't interested in a particular book, no amount of personalization is going to make them change their mind.

Nightd
02-24-2012, 08:27 PM
Some may say "I want to hear voice" and others may say "I want to see the plot doesn't have gaping holes"

That's basically it. Some agents want to hear more of the character's "voice" in the letter. Some prefer more of the author's. Others prefer hooks. Some hates hooks. Some want you to stalk them and want you to let them know you've at least read some of the stuff they've represented. Others don't.

One agent wrote on his blog, don't even bother to include the genre in the query letter. That gets sorted out later. If you are subbing to me, then I expect you know what genres I don't take.

Another said don't bother including word count. It's not that important (Although the consensus I get is that in a generic query letter, you should include a word count)

Basically, I feel like one can write a different query letter to cater to each agent they submit to. I mean, each query letter would probably still have same meats and bones of the story in it. It's just the little things (sometimes big) you have to change.

Nightd
02-24-2012, 08:34 PM
I wouldn't worry about it too much anyway. As long as your query is professional, well-written, and includes all the information the agent wants, you're probably doing better than most of the slush pile. :) If the agent isn't interested in a particular book, no amount of personalization is going to make them change their mind.

Thank you. This is basically what I wanted to know.

Would personalization increase a person's chance to get read and is it worth the time to do it?

I guess if my query is professional, well-written, and includes all the information the agent wants, it should be fine.

quicklime
02-24-2012, 08:44 PM
That's basically it. Some agents want to hear more of the character's "voice" in the letter. Some prefer more of the author's. Others prefer hooks. Some hates hooks. Some want you to stalk them and want you to let them know you've at least read some of the stuff they've represented. Others don't. with the exception of hooks, where I believe the guy was saying "I hate bad or gimmicky hooks" (and further guessing, probably referring to things like log lines and rhetorical questions), none of them said "Show me character instead of author and I'll be pissed" either...they are talking about their personal hot-buttons, or things that are especially important to them. ideally you get all of them done well in a query, you don't cut voice completely because this is your "hook query". They're saying things they look for in particular, not exclusively.

One agent wrote on his blog, don't even bother to include the genre in the query letter. That gets sorted out later. If you are subbing to me, then I expect you know what genres I don't take. yet i doubt you'd be rejected for a 1-line "Peter MacPeter is an 81,000-page horror novel" because of the single word...it would just be ignored. However, since it is a single deletion and a clear request, you may as well remove it in his case--there's no point in sending out queries 15% faster if you increase your rejection rate by 20%....

Another said don't bother including word count. It's not that important (Although the consensus I get is that in a generic query letter, you should include a word count) you should...again, this seems unlikely to create a major issue, but again,a single, simple deletion

Basically, I feel like one can write a different query letter to cater to each agent they submit to. I mean, each query letter would probably still have same meats and bones of the story in it. It's just the little things (sometimes big) you have to change.

Mostly little, and mostly easy. You can decide to ignore them, but you will probably peel off a few of those agents by deciding to do so. If you're comfortable with that as opposed to what mostly seem to come down to single-word deletions and the like, that's up to you..I'm an "on the side of caution" guy.

Drachen Jager
02-24-2012, 09:28 PM
All agents want the same thing.

A query letter that piques their interest and makes them think, "Hey, if the manuscript is as good as this I can sell it."

That's it.

You don't have to tell them their pet bunny Fluffy looked good at the staff Haloween party in her pink tutu.

Just write a great manuscript, write a great query for it and you're golden. Easy as that. Just be sure you're in the top .1% of what they see. That's all. :)

And, you know what? There's a secret to writing a kickass query that few people on here talk about because they're so busy focusing on the query. The trick to writing a great query is to have a great manuscript, then the query will flow like butter.