I'm preparing to dive into the query trenches. This means I'm in line edit phase on my manuscript, I'm prepping my agent list (sadly you are not on it as my novel is MG), and I've cobbled together a pretty bang up query.
As an avid Reider, I subscribe to the QOTKU's query structure - book summary, housekeeping, bio. However, I have a few referrals and personal connections I'd like to mention in select queries, but I'm torn on how to structure those specifically. Do I:1. Keep the current structure and add the personalization in with the housekeeping details?2. Add a brief introduction with personal connection and continue with general query structure of book sum, housekeeping, bio?3. Change the structure completely for those select queries and lead with housekeeping/personal connection followed by book summary and bio?Clearly my hamster wheel is spinning. Back to line edits it is ...
If you have a personal connection to the agent, lead with it.
All too often people try to personalize the query with something like "I follow you on Twitter, and you're the funniest thing since Barbara Poelle" which may be true, but isn't a connection.
I wish it were; I'd be glued to the lip of Idris Elba since I follow him on Twitter and he's the hottest Bond since Timothy Dalton (ok, I know that's going to get me in trouble with purists, but I LOVE Timothy Dalton.)
|gratuitous photo of Idris Elba, who needs to query me right NOW|
Oh wait, queries, right.
Lead with the genuine personalization or connection. If you're responding to a #MSWL or a #PitMad request, that goes first too.
What does NOT go first is some sort of manufactured connection you think you need. You don't.
After the personalization, continue as normal: what the story is; housekeeping; your bio.
It looks like this:
Idris Elba gave me your name after reading my manuscript. He said he was sorry about calling the police that night in Baltimore. He hadn't realized you were scouting for PantsOnFire Publications.
Furtive Furlong has been a racecourse pickpocket for several prosperous years. He's gotten wallets, and watches, and more than a few SmartTrip cards as he's glad handed the rich and famous.
Now he's found himself with something he didn't expect: the wallet and keys of a dead man. Just moments after the lift, Herbert Harrison dropped dead at the concession stand.
Now Furtive has the goods, and it's not so good.
I'd die of happiness to be compared to Dick Francis for the race track setting of this book; it's genuinely more of a caper novel that I hope would remind readers of Donald Westlake (again, death by happiness).
I ride horses but don't pick pockets in suburban Maryland. Which is where I met Idris Elba who, again, is real sorry about that straitjacket and squad car call.
Furtive in Funkstown runs 63,000 words.
I have an active mailing list of 3000 names.
It does NOT look like this:
I saw your tweet about Idris Elba and I think he should be the next Bond too!
Furtive Furlong has been a racecourse pickpocket for several prosperous years. He's gotten wallets, and watches, and more than a few metro cards as he's glad handed the rich and famous.
You're in luck today; questions are FREE!