View Full Version : Shall I change it?

10-04-2016, 09:09 PM
It's me again :)

I wonder if someone who's ahead of me on this Journey could shed some light..... I sent my first bunch of queries on the 11th Sept, so it's been 3 weeks. Early days, half way through 6 weeks, but still no respose. I write self/help spiritual so it won't be to everyone's taste.
Some Agents may be put off straight away...

Nasty doubts creep in that I was deluded and lying to myself that I can get published. That no one will be interested. All I can do is to query...millions of agents.

How do I know now if my query is good? When shall Istart thinking of changing it? Shall I just stick to my guns and send the same one?

How personal can you get? If it's just business like one you will make no connection..... Do you tailor it a bit to each agent?

Feeling so friggin lost with it all :(

10-04-2016, 09:12 PM
You can post your query in QLH once you've gotten 50 posts. Before you do that, you can read all the stickied posts and read the threads on the first couple of pages of the forum. You're free to critique other queries and other work at any time; that's a good way to get to your 50 posts.

10-04-2016, 09:54 PM
I always like to bring up this handy post (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?291559-Statistics-Exercise-for-Queries!) that attempts to apply some order to the multi-faceted problem of knowing when to worry about your query/pages. Beyond that, there are just far too many variables to know. Do your homework, and then go with your gut. And like cornflake said, a great place to do your homework is QLH.

I would personalize if you have something good: you met the agent at a conference, they tweeted or posted a wishlist and your book is on it, they requested your last full manuscript, etc.

Carrie in PA
10-05-2016, 12:12 AM
Make sure you're querying the right agents for your work. If you're querying the right agents, they certainly shouldn't be put off by a query for a project in an area they represent.

Get a query critique either here on QLH or someone IRL who's qualified.

And work on something else. The waiting will drive you insane. :)

10-05-2016, 12:20 AM
Link to QLH (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?174-Query-Letter-Hell-SYW) in case you missed it. The password is vista. Besides reading other queries, have a look at the stickied threads at the top of the front page. Wealth of information there. Good luck!

10-05-2016, 12:43 AM
Guys you are all amazing! Honestly, I don't know what I would do without your wisdom, encouragement and support! Thanks all. It's much appreciated. I'm taking it on board.

10-05-2016, 06:39 AM
Among those stickies in QLH is a link to a query database that lists authors who received publishing deals. You can actually read the queries that got them their agent or book deal. I don't have a direct link (I'll try to find it) but I found it incredibly helpful. Do everything these amazing AW members have already suggested, and also, go through and read as many successful queries as you can get your hands on.

Knowing what's grabbing agent's attention might help you tailor your query a bit. I also like to check http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/ often to see what agents are looking for--it might help you find agents who want your type of book. Just a thought. Good luck.

10-05-2016, 07:20 AM
Is your book non-fiction self-help, narrative non-fiction, or memoir? Memoir is queried roughly like fiction, but straight non-fiction is pretty different. Those are queried as proposals, for one thing, and are more reliant on platform or personal expertise (as opposed to experience). Here is a post by Jane Friedman on querying NF. It might offer some additional insight. QUERYING NON-FICTION (https://janefriedman.com/the-complete-guide-to-query-letters-nonfiction/) I hope you can find something helpful there. As much as I love QLH, I'm not sure a lot of the advice in the stickies applies to straight-up NF proposals.

Siri Kirpal
10-05-2016, 11:49 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

If your self-help book is not also a memoir (some are), you don't use the Query Letter Hell formula. It doesn't work at all for regular non-fiction. For non-fic, your bio is the most important part of the shebang. And as Elaine mentioned, you need a proposal. There are several books out on how to write proposals and several agent websites have info too.

If you aren't known, you'll have an uphill battle. Because most self-help that sells well enough for an agent to take on comes from people who already have a following: TV show, huge & highly successful practice in whatever the self-help is about, etc.

Alternately, you could try the small reputable publishers who deal with this type of book. And skip agents entirely. (This is assuming you don't want to self-publish.) That's what I did with my two books, one of which (Yoga for Prosperity) is partially self-help.


Siri Kirpal