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Fizgig
07-10-2014, 07:16 AM
I'm asking this for a friend who is also entering query letter hell (no seriously). Is there a reputable place to find professional query critiques? I've been using QLH but he'd rather not, which means I'm not sure where to direct him. I know agents sometimes run query workshops that include a critique and some editors offer.

Is there a way to find such things? Or a clearinghouse where he could track down a reputable agent or editor that offers critiques? He's willing to pay reasonable molah for it and all....

Old Hack
07-10-2014, 10:39 AM
I don't know of any agents or editors who would do this sort of work because it could result in a huge conflict of interests for them.

There are several resources out there: QLH here is brilliant because you get so many different viewpoints; QueryShark is brilliant too; Nicola Morgan's book Dear Agent is useful (she's a friend of mine but I'd say that anyway). There are various editorial agencies which might or might not help but they're mostly geared up to helping with full-length manuscripts, so I'm not sure how helpful their input would be.

Many of the workshops I've seen on this have been run by dodgy agents, so if your friend decides to take this route tell him to vet the agents thoroughly before handing over his cash. There's no point taking poor advice.

Wilde_at_heart
07-10-2014, 04:04 PM
I just found this site - https://thoughtsfromtheagentdesk.wordpress.com/ - written by someone who describes herself as an intern at an agency ...

Honestly though, I think the best way to write a good query letter is to critique a bunch of them oneself. He might not want to put up his own query, but a lot can be learned by picking apart others. If he wants to 'fast track' it without bumping older threads, he could crit queries both on here and on query-tracker, though iirc that site is a little slower than here.

That, and follow #tenqueries and #500queries on twitter.

quicklime
07-10-2014, 04:13 PM
Another vote to suggest qlh because a crit is lovely, but somewhat like being handed a single match. Actually critiquing yourself is like actually learning to build a fire.

Sometimes one match is plenty, but others....

SuperKate
07-10-2014, 05:54 PM
I agree with all that is said above, but here are a few options for someone looking for feedback from a professional (these are both former agents):

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2014/04/im-offering-editing-and-consultations.html

http://marykole.com/services/

Also, agent Pam van Hylckama does a monthly query writing workshop. If you follow her on Twitter @BookaliciousPam, you'll see her announcements. Finally, agent Peter Knapp is currently doing what he calls a query e-conference at petejknapp.com. He's posting 25 queries (with permission) and giving detailed feedback on them.

I should note that these folks are all in the kidlit area, because that's what I write. They could probably help with queries in other genres, though, or maybe refer you to someone who can.

Fizgig
07-10-2014, 06:17 PM
Thanks all! I'll gently break it to him that this is just gonna be more work....

SuperKate, thank you so much, it was Pam that I knew did something like that but couldn't remember her name.

quicklime
07-10-2014, 06:52 PM
Thanks all! I'll gently break it to him that this is just gonna be more work....

SuperKate, thank you so much, it was Pam that I knew did something like that but couldn't remember her name.


Fiz, I know I have seen you in qlh; you can probably explain to him pretty well that learning to crit and cut in queries may be work, but it is a skill that comes in handy for later full-length stuff also....

Stanton
07-16-2014, 07:07 PM
What is QLH? Thanks. Sounds interesting.

mayqueen
07-16-2014, 07:21 PM
Query Letter Hell (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=174). You can't post your own queries until you have fifty posts, but you can read and critique others' queries.

tko
07-27-2014, 12:12 PM
My 2 cents. It doesn't work to pay for a query review, for a variety of reasons.

Every agent has their own personal likes and dislikes. Some are current, some are a little quaint, some are unique, British, American, formal, casual . . . one viewpoint will hardly ever work. And, it can be a case of "I know what I like when I see it," but "I can't guide you on how to make it better."

Writers are usually worse. Many of the professional writers I've worked with are out of touch with the querying process. They haven't had to query seriously recently, or their query process is much easier than what a total beginner faces. Sure, there are everyday working authors who are probably very good at writing queries, but how do you know you've found one?

You need a variety of opinions, from people in the trenches, working with what agents want today. You need someone who will stick with you for not just one, or two, or three revisions, but for dozens. You need someone who will question your novel as well, and suggest rewrites if necessary. That isn't going to come cheap. Figure hundreds of dollars minimum, one person's opinion, no guarantees.

On top of it, you'll still need to research your agents, tailor a query for each one, write a synopsis in different lengths, and refine and adjust your query as you submit.

whiporee
07-28-2014, 06:22 AM
If he's got a year to wait, the Taos Summer Writer's Conference will have a weekend workshop run by agents next July. I took it last year, and got great feedback on my query, and when we were all done they offered to go over them again and send them to us. It was a great weekend with really good information about the business.

I don't know who's doing it next year, but the agents who did the 2013 version were fantastic, and I know the seminar was instrumental in at least one student (me) getting a couple of offers of rep.

mmallico
07-28-2014, 05:17 PM
If you really want to, than Writer's Digest runs a lot of webinars that focus on query letters and many agents can be found there to give you a query letter critique if you pay around 90 dollars for each webinar.

However, a lot of the advice you get can be free if you know where to look and QLH can offer that advice.

GingerGunlock
07-28-2014, 08:56 PM
Another vote to suggest qlh because a crit is lovely, but somewhat like being handed a single match. Actually critiquing yourself is like actually learning to build a fire.

Sometimes one match is plenty, but others....

See, I thought you were going to say "actually critiquing yourself is like setting yourself on fire" :D


As others have said, QLH is a great place to start. The people here who are generous enough to spend their time know what they're saying, and don't owe you anything. That level of honesty is a rare thing, especially for free!

Tromboli
07-28-2014, 10:17 PM
Especially when you're new to query writing its best to get numerous looks from more than one or two people so if you can convince him, definitely go the QLH route.

I do know a writer who does query critique services that you can refer him to if not. She's repped by Jim McCarthy (amazing agent) and she's been an agent intern for years. She actaully just moved to NYC to try to become an agent herself. I've never used her services so I can't really vouch but as a person she's great. http://www.laurenspieller.com/editorial-services/

JJ Litke
07-29-2014, 01:13 AM
Everything that tko said. The single match analogy is great, too. I did a couple of workshops, and they helped me marginally.

You learn to write a query the same way you learn to write a book. Read a lot of queries, write a lot of queries.