Thanks to #MSWL, more and more agents are tweeting their preferences.
I know the rule about starting your query with the pitch--you've said it, repeated it, maybe even sent out a smoke signal that didn't make it all the way to my country. But if Fabulous agent mentions on #MSWL s/he wants a novel with drunk koalas, and I have it, would it be okay to start with that?
Something like: "Through Twitter and #MSWL, I saw you were looking for submissions with drunk koalas. My novel, MAKING MY OWN BREWSKI: THE EUCALYPTUS LEAVES ERA, might be a good fit for your list."
Some sites say it's great, some say it's pointless, and I don't know who to believe (except for Your Sharkiness, of course).
The key to this is in the first sentence: tweeting their preferences. The only thing new here is the medium. Agents have always stated preferences. Preferences are listed in QueryTracker, on the agent's website guidelines, in Writers' Guide to Literary Agents, pretty much anywhere there's a list of agents.
It's always drives me slightly bonkers to have someone start out "you say on your website that you're looking for thrillers." Well, yes. I know that. I not only know that, I WROTE IT. You don't need to tell me.
What you do need to tell me is that you wrote a thriller.
And it is to be devoutly hoped I'll actually know that without you saying so, because your query will SHOW me a thriller, either by plot, or character or (dare to dream, Janet) both.
In the case of the #MSWL, you don't need to tell the agent what s/he's looking for. You say instead that you have a project that fits something on her #MSWL.
To use your example:
"Through Twitter and #MSWL, I saw you were looking for submissions with drunk koalas.My novel, MAKING MY OWN BREWSKI: THE EUCALYPTUS LEAVES ERA, might be a good fit for your list." what you mentioned on #MSWL.
Obviously you'd polish that up a bit; this is just the initial effort.
This is housekeeping so it goes at the end, BUT in the case of #MSWL, you can also put it
in the subject line.
Subj: Query for TITLE (#MSWL)
Do this so the agent knows right away this is something s/he's specifically looking for.
Do NOT overload the subject line with word count, category, publishing status, etc.