I started the morning with a quick spin through the Query inventory today and found a couple things that were pretty perplexing.
1. Word count-short. No, a novel isn't 20,000 words. That's a novella, or a long short story. When you tell me your novel is 20K, it's an automatic rejection before reading pages. Novels need to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-100K.
2. Word count-long. No, you can't send me a novel that's 220K for a debut YA. That's just too long, and you should know this if you've read any debut YA in the last couple years. That's also an automatic rejection because I don't want to spend four weeks fighting with you about which of your darlings need to be killed.
3. A query with the pages first, then the query in the body of the email. I'd never seen that before and assume it was just a cut and paste error but make sure you don't do this, ok? I've gotten a raft of queries with ONLY pages, no query and this one looked like that. I need the query to introduce the pages or I don't know what I'm reading.
4. It really helps if you include the title of your book. Not three options for a title, and no designation of "working title." Just give the novel a title and we'll sort it out later if it stinks.
5. When your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org don't be surprised if I reply with Dear Info. Sometimes I do it just to make a point, but sometimes, it's the only thing I have to call you. (hint: sign your name to your query)
6. Please for the love of all that's chocolate, don't laud your novel in your query. "It's enthralling" doesn't work. It's like someone saying "I'm attractive!" Even if true, it's so offputting as to make it not so. Just tell me what the book is about. Get the plot on the page. Leave the description to me for my reply asking for a full manuscript.