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999ghosts
12-06-2014, 01:37 PM
Writing a query for my book, I understand you have to sell it to the agent. Convince him you got something good he wants to learn more about, read and eventually pick up to sell.

But do you also add your weakness in a query. I know I'll need an editor, that's where my weakness is. Would the turn away from it? Is it a bad idea to give that away as they'll might be scared away from it.

I think I got a good, fun, solid adventurous story. I think it is even well written (I hope). But I know some of the words might be placed wrong. (Or even a lot of them)...

Thank you in advance for all the tips!

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
12-06-2014, 02:28 PM
You don't address your weaknesses in your query. You address weaknesses before sending your query. If that takes time, so be it. Make sure you learn to edit. Check out "Self editing for fiction writers" or follow a basic English language course if that is what you need. Think of it this way: would you try and enter hurdling races if you're still knocking over several hurdles on each run? It may be hard to accept that you need to wait with the submission and learn more, but agents are professionals. And they will expect a professional submission.

cornflake
12-06-2014, 02:36 PM
Writing a query for my book, I understand you have to sell it to the agent. Convince him you got something good he wants to learn more about, read and eventually pick up to sell.

But do you also add your weakness in a query. I know I'll need an editor, that's where my weakness is. Would the turn away from it? Is it a bad idea to give that away as they'll might be scared away from it.

I think I got a good, fun, solid adventurous story. I think it is even well written (I hope). But I know some of the words might be placed wrong. (Or even a lot of them)...

Thank you in advance for all the tips!

If you know a lot of words are 'placed wrong,' whatever that means, and that your ms. needs basic editing for grammar or the like, you do that before you query it at all.

Old Hack
12-06-2014, 02:52 PM
But do you also add your weakness in a query. I know I'll need an editor, that's where my weakness is. Would the turn away from it? Is it a bad idea to give that away as they'll might be scared away from it.

I think I got a good, fun, solid adventurous story. I think it is even well written (I hope). But I know some of the words might be placed wrong. (Or even a lot of them)...

Thank you in advance for all the tips!

You need to do all you can to resolve those weaknesses before you query. There's no getting around this if you want to find a good agent, or a good publisher.

You could hire an editor, or an editorial agency, to work with you to improve your book: a good one will be expensive, and a poor one won't be worth bothering with. But the problems there are you're very unlikely to ever recoup the money you spend, because most submissions aren't ever picked up; and if you don't learn from the process you'll have to pay for all your subsequent books to be edited prior to submission, too.

You'd probably be better off spending time working on your craft so that you can revise your work effectively without external help. It takes time, but most successful writers do take this route.

Filigree
12-06-2014, 07:13 PM
What everyone else has said. Hammer out as many problems as you can before you query a mms. You'll likely only get one chance per agent, so make it count.

Five years ago, I started querying an ambitious epic fantasy. It had good enough bones to do well at a Random House contest and as a Writers of the Future partial, but it had structural problems I refused to see. After 75 queries and only a couple of semi-positive responses (partial requests that went nowhere), I trunked the book. Wrote and polished something else. Targeted it to a specific market, and sold it within three months of my queries.

There are enough weak mms already sitting in slush piles. Give yours an edge by addressing weaknesses now, even if it's painful for you.

mayqueen
12-07-2014, 12:58 AM
You don't address your weaknesses in your query. You address weaknesses before sending your query.

I agree with this 100%.

Laer Carroll
12-07-2014, 01:17 AM
An editor can improve a written work. They can't improve a writer.

Become good first. An editor can then help you make a specific work better.

quicklime
12-07-2014, 08:40 AM
Writing a query for my book, I understand you have to sell it to the agent. Convince him you got something good he wants to learn more about, read and eventually pick up to sell.

But do you also add your weakness in a query. I know I'll need an editor, that's where my weakness is. Would the turn away from it? Is it a bad idea to give that away as they'll might be scared away from it.

I think I got a good, fun, solid adventurous story. I think it is even well written (I hope). But I know some of the words might be placed wrong. (Or even a lot of them)...

Thank you in advance for all the tips!





1) nobody writes personals " Small dick but big heart".....or, for that matter, "small heart, but big ol'dick." Your weaknesseswill always show in time, but you dont have to go out of your way to advertise them....

2) you got grammar issues? Fine...fix them: #1 notwithstanding, do everything you can to mitigate your own weaknesses.

R

Kallithrix
12-07-2014, 04:39 PM
To build on Quickie's personal ad analogy, asking whether or not you should mention your writing weaknesses to an agent is kinda like being emotionally not ready for a relationship, and asking whether or not you should mention that in your dating profile.

If your writing weaknesses are significant enough to put off an agent, then you're not ready to query. Fix the weaknesses first.

paddismac
12-07-2014, 06:24 PM
<snip> I understand you have to sell it to the agent. Convince him you got something good he wants to learn more about, read and eventually pick up to sell. <snip>


Everybody has given good tips about not advertising one's weaknesses, so I want to touch on this part of the OP's post.

At the query stage, I tend to think of the writer as more of a Vanna White type of a "presenter" rather than a salesman. The words we have written (both the query letter and pages) have to stand on their own and sell themselves.

Please don't TELL the agent or publisher that "This is the greatest love story since Romeo and Juliet, and will make both of us rich beyond our wildest dreams." SHOW it (or at least the promise of it) in the sample pages of your manuscript, and let the agent come to that conclusion on his/her own.

Jamesaritchie
12-07-2014, 07:52 PM
I think I got a good, fun, solid adventurous story. I think it is even well written (I hope). But I know some of the words might be placed wrong. (Or even a lot of them)...

Thank you in advance for all the tips!

Fix them. As the writer, doing so is your job. Period.

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
12-07-2014, 09:08 PM
PS. If you're the type that is typically overly worried about your work, a perfectionist (only you can answer that), it's possible our comments throw you in a tailspin. Don't let them. We're just responding to what you wrote and we can't see behind the words. On the other hand, if you know that you're making too many errors still, which appears to be the case from your post, and have a good story, them make it shine by taking the above advice on board.

CathleenT
12-08-2014, 01:38 AM
What do your non-friend, non-family member beta readers say? If you don't have any, I would strongly suggest making contacts and swapping with other writers to improve each other's manuscripts.

I've learned a ton from betas, both in their critiques on my work, and during the critiques I've done on theirs. I would strongly suggest this, because even if it turns out your MS is basically ready-to-go, you'll still help another writer, learn some more about your craft by critiquing, and be able to query with more confidence.

Best of luck, no matter what you decide. :)