Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Incorrect query format
Someone out there is telling writers to start their queries with this:
Genre: Literary fiction
Page count (single-spaced): (number)
Word Count: (number)
Status: Ready for publication
I don't know who it is, or where the info is listed but it's WRONG.
The only other thing explanations is that someone read a screenplay book, and thought it applied to book publishing. It does NOT.
DO NOT START YOUR QUERY LIKE THIS.
For starters, your pages are double spaced (please god, I hope you know THAT) and I don't care about page count. I care about WORD count.
Second, you're using up your first look with things that are housekeeping.
The first line of your email query is:
Dear Janet (or dear Snookums or whatever you're calling me)
The next line is the name of your character and what has just happened that is going to change his life.
Absent specific directions to the contrary from a specific agency about their specific needs, this is absolute ironclad industry standard.
As more agents are reading on their phones, the last thing you want to do is make it harder to get to what matters: the story.
I've gotten a bunch of poorly formatted queries lately, thus this blog post.
After almost ten years and 250+ examples at QueryShark, this kind of thing makes me snarl with frustration.