Thursday, October 25, 2007

Successful Query Letters

All this week authors are posting their successful query letters on fangs_fur_fey. I posted mine here. I have a love/hate relationship with query letters. On the one hand, now that I'm done writing them, I love them. I love to see how people boil their story down. I love to see what kinds of stories people are coming up with. I love to see how someone can take a pretty formulaic medium and use it to make us want to ask for more. On the other hand, I hated having to boil my story down -- I couldn't figure out what was important and what wouldn't. I hated having to try to read an agent's mind as to what they wanted. I hated the terror that I wouldn't be adequately representing my book and that the premise the agent was rejecting was not the premise of my book at all. Also, I was afraid I'd get rejected for something as stupid as saying "thank you" in my letter to an agent that didn't like to be thanked.

That's one reason that I've always been fascinated by query letters that worked. To see how others have gone about the process. Which is why I think it's so cool that so many authors are willing to share theirs now. So feel free to stop by, comment, and ask questions.

9 comments:

Erica Ridley said...

Hey, that's pretty cool! I'll try to remember and post mine.

Brooke Taylor said...

"the premise the agent was rejecting was not the premise of my book at all."

This has always been a problem of mine! I'm glad I'm not alone in this terror--or this one:

"rejected for something as stupid as saying "thank you" in my letter to an agent that didn't like to be thanked."

I made an idiot out of myself trying to give this one agent exactly what he asked for and it all backfired. It is so hard to walk that thin line...

~BT

Carrie said...

Oh Brooke that stinks! There's nothing worse that trying to do everything right and it not working out!

Brooke Taylor said...

Yes, it was a lesson learned, though.

And it made figuring out how to write a query and getting the perfect agent that much sweeter!

Diana Peterfreund said...

Not to be all Negative Nelly, but I think it's adorable that you think you're done writing these suckers. ;-)

"the premise the agent was rejecting was not the premise of my book at all."

Also adorable. Wait until you start getting reviews and they either give away the ending of the book or get the plot so wrong you wonder which book they read.

Carrie said...

Oh Diana, you party-pooper :) But at least none of my contract payments are contingent on outlines or synopsi (this time!)

Amanda Ashby said...

Okay, so now I want to read this book even more!!!!! And hahaha about the 'pasting below' thing, I always use to do stuff like and then spend far too much time fretting about it. Now I just fret about sales figures instead. Hmmm, actually perhaps the old days weren't so bad after all!!!

Celeste said...

Your query letter was awesome, Carrie :) And your story sounds like a nailbiter.

And I know what you mean about going crazy with the little details. I find myself listening to the little voice in the back of my head asking dumb questions like: Are vampires really a too tough sell right now? Or did I inflate myself too much in assessing where it would sit on the shelf? Did I leave out a crucial element in the interests of keeping it brief?

I guess this is why they say write another book ;)

Anonymous said...

If an agent is so picky to reject my query because I said, "thank you," then I don't think I'd want that agent as mine.

Hopefully, the majority of *good* agents who are really looking for new authors are looking for that hook, that boiled down story that grabs them. Not an unwanted thank you.