Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I want to stand out! I want to be memorable!
You don't even have to be alive to get query letters these days if you're an agent.
You don't have to want them or need them.
Query letters arrive each and every day. They come by mail, they come by electrons, sometimes they pad in on their own two feet and sometimes they come by telephone.
If I had a sawbuck for every query I got in a week, I'd take everyone who regularly reads this blog out for lunch and have enough left over to pay my bar tab.
This fact of life is not unknown to the many of you who are writing queries. From that knowledge comes the overwhelming desire to STAND OUT, to be *~*~memorable~*~**~.
Thus you do things you think are memorable:
Send your query letter by FedEx.
Send your query letter registered mail.
Send your query letter on lovely stationery.
Send your query letter on lovely stationery with an inkwell graphic.
Send your letter on lovely stationery with !*writer!* underneath your name (just in case I thought maybe my plumber was querying)
Carefully organize everything into a three ring binder.
Carefully organize everything into a bound packet.
Carefully organize everything, then staple it once, or maybe even twice...can't be too careful!
Do NOT do any of this.
No one, not a single agent in the entire world, selects a query based on how it arrived or what it was printed on, or all the extra junk that comes with it. They READ it.
Let me repeat.
They READ it.
No one thinks "oh, a clever binder/notebook." They think, oh crap, my wastebasket is already overflowing where am I going to put this, and is it recyclable.
Even our very nice, very gracious and forgiving, and God bless them, EAGER TO READ YOUR QUERY interns get over their interest in gimmicks after the first two.
I read all my own queries, so you don't even get the first two gimmicks if you're querying me.
I'm looking hard for good stuff.
If you query me with a gimmick, it's not a failure of logic to conclude you don't take yourself or your work seriously.
You stand out ONLY if you have outstanding writing.
No gimmicks, no tricks, no shortcuts.
Don't waste your time or money.
If you don't believe me, come open query letters for a week.