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Velcro
04-24-2013, 05:43 AM
So I'm reading through Stephen King's "On Writing" and he lists an example of an author querying literary agents through a rather personal letter exchange. The example author tells the agent about himself, his list of published stories and mentions a novel that he is currently working on (but has not yet completed). And, in the end, winds up with an agent.

I was under the impression that agents wanted to know only about the completed project and very little about the writer. Is that not really the case?

Can someone clear this up for me? Thanks!

suki
04-24-2013, 05:53 AM
So I'm reading through Stephen King's "On Writing" and he lists an example of an author querying literary agents through a rather personal letter exchange. The example author tells the agent about himself, his list of published stories and mentions a novel that he is currently working on (but has not yet completed). And, in the end, winds up with an agent.

I was under the impression that agents wanted to know only about the completed project and very little about the writer. Is that not really the case?

Can someone clear this up for me? Thanks!

When it comes to queries, the standards and expectations change over time. Almost any book written more than a few years ago is outdated.

You also need to be cognizant of your source -- ie, is the person who is giving you advice an agent or editor? An author who has recently had success querying agents?

Query Letter Hell in Share Your Work has lots of good information on queries and querying. Read On Writing for other concepts and information and inspiration, but it's probably not a good source for how to get published today.

~suki

amschilling
04-24-2013, 05:54 AM
Stephen king is one of my heros, and "On Writing" is something I turn to for inspiration often. BUT..... it was written a while ago. The process has changed, and what he suggests wouldn't work in today's environment very well. The completed project thing being the big flag: unless you're a mega-best-seller, don't query a project that isn't ready to go. And even if you are a mega-best-seller, you may not want to. :-)

Query Letter Hell in the Share Your Work section is an excellent resource. Hang out there, and check out Query Shark, and you'll see what the current expectations are.

Velcro
04-24-2013, 06:15 AM
That is what I was afraid of. I did go through Query Letter Hell a while back and eventually, I was able to get a workable query which I submitted to literary agents and even managed to get a bite and a full manuscript request. But, alas, the agent passed and since then I've gotten nothing but rejections or nothing at all. That was some time ago and I've begun to lose hope that my novel will ever get published.

Anyway, thanks for the advice. I'm not giving up, just looking for other strategies at this point.

direndria2
04-26-2013, 07:40 PM
If it's been a while, maybe try putting it through QLH again? Maybe you'll be able to get some fresh perspectives on it. This whole business is kind of a crap shoot anyway. Best of luck, and I know it's frustrating, but keep at it!

quicklime
04-26-2013, 07:47 PM
I'd re-sub to QLH. And I didn't see the last one, did folks TELL you to roll it out, or did you go early? Because a lot of folks leave the party early.


As for King, he's one of my favorite authors and a god as far as I'm concerned, but even gods err.....he also suggests the most reasonable way to break in as a novelist is to go write a bunch of short stories and get pubbed all over first. That may be ideal, but it isn't very common any longer, because so many small markets have evaporated. Yet he seems fully unaware of this. I suspect going through the process forty-plus years ago will do that to a guy ;-)

quicklime
04-26-2013, 07:54 PM
I got nosy......so,

Was this the query you sent out?

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=262550

I DID see that. I ignored your rhetorical question (which would already have me itching to reject) and posted the following:

this is a bullet-point list of what happens.

read the 3 questions sticky, for a quick starter....


others suggested ditching the rhetorical, you need to scrap and start over because this was a rearrangement of your prior query, and struck huge swaths of it as back-story.



I'm sorry to be blunt, but WAS that the query you were sending out? Because I'm not sure what else you'd expect to get from that.....


I thought I was pretty blunt in the query, and nobody else was exactly unclear, so I'll be even blunter here--I'm not yelling AT you, I'm yelling with you :tongue : you got some really solid advice there but the last query any of us saw was bad......BAD bad. sorry, it just was. That was NOT a workable query you left with (I assume you revised some from that, but I have no idea what the query you sent to agents looked like, then), and that's without even considering that a "workable" query won't get you a damn thing, you need an EXCELLENT query. And now, every agent you queried represents one less to query when you fix things.

GO BACK AND FIX THE QUERY. THIS ONE WASN'T EVEN CLOSE TO READY.


THE ONLY THING YOU GET FASTER WHEN YOU RUSH THINGS ARE REJECTION LETTERS.

Drachen Jager
04-26-2013, 08:30 PM
Just to add.

The guy in the anecdote relayed in On Writing knew Stephen King (I believe he was a student in a course King taught or something, but they stayed in touch a bit). Don't you think, perhaps, a letter saying, "Hi, you don't know me, but my friend Stephen King reccomended I contact you about a book I'm writing. Here are my writing credentials," pretty much trumps any other form of query?

If you have Stephen King in your back pocket, I say go for it!

Otherwise, line up with the rest of us proles.