Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Query Letter Diagnostics

I respond to almost every query. If you sent a query and did not receive a response, go through this list to see what went wrong:

1. Have you waited thirty days?
I ask for 30 days to respond to queries. In addition, there is a place on the blog that shows how caught up I am. Make sure you're not jumping the gun.

YES: Go to 2
NO: Simmer down and wait.

2. Did you address it to
YES: Go to 3

NO: resend it to that address

3. Is your novel finished, polished, ready to send?
YES: Go to 4

NO: I do not respond to queries for novels "almost ready to go" or "nearing completion" or queries that ask "do you think this is a good concept?" Finish your novel, or write your proposal (for NF), then query.

4. Did you include the requested 3-5 sample pages in the body of the email?
YES: Go to 5

NO: resend, and this time include the pages

5. Did you include an attachment?
NO: go to 7
YES: resend it to me without any attachments. Pages are pasted into the query itself

6. Did you send the email to more than one person; a cc or a bcc or on the TO line?
NO: go to 6
YES: resend it to me, and do not include anyone else, including yourself in any address line

7. Did you query for more than one project in the query letter?
NO: go to 8
YES: revise your query. Query for ONLY one project at a time.  

8. Did you query for something that is NOT a book (a screenplay for example)
NO: go to 9
YES: I don't represent anything but books.

9. Are you someone other than the author of the book?
NO: go to 10
YES: Your query was deleted. It will not help to resend it because I do not respond to queries from anyone other than author. Anyone includes publicists, assistants, lawyers.

10. Did you include your name in the query?

NO: Query again, but include your name. Not just your initials or a nickname. 

YES: go to 11

11. Have you checked your spam filter for my reply?
(if you have one of those "please click here to be on my approved sender list" barriers--I didn't)
NO: go check
YES: go to 12

12. Have you included an actual query, not just pages from your novel?
NO: Resend with an actual query (250 words approx) and the first three to five pages of the novel.
YES: Go to 13

13. Have you sent an actual query, not something you think is "better" "improved" or "more helpful" than a query? [Examples so far: an Excel spreadsheet of blog posts that comprise your novel; a published copy of the book you're querying on; a video introduction attached to an email; a jpg of your query letter]

NO: Resend with an actual query (250 words approx) and the first three to five pages of the novel.
YES: Go to 14

14. Did you include me in an email blast touting publication of a book, or asking me to buy your book?

NO: Got to 15

YES: You'll need to query from a different email. I block email addresses that spam me.

15. If you've gotten all the way down this list and nothing has been a do-over

Just resend the query. Stuff happens.

Questions? ...well, I'd tell you to email me, but clearly that's a problem. You might try reaching out via Twitter: @Janet_Reid

Updated: 1/4/22