Which resulted in my query inbox filling up right quick.
Which is a-ok with me. I love queries.
But it also seems that many of the queriers have not read this blog, or QueryShark.
Thus, they are not as well versed in what a query by email should look like as one might hope.
Thus this refresher:
YES: Query for Thwarting Forti (a novel in verse) by Felix Buttonweezer
Nothing else, UNLESS specified by the agent.
YES: Dear Ms Reid/Dear Janet/Dear Snookums;
NO: Dear Agent/Yo! /Dear Agent Reid/Dear Barbara Poelle (unless you are querying Barbara Poelle, which you should)
BODY OF THE EMAIL
Steve Forti has thwarted Janet Reid in every flash fiction contest since Dog was a pup. She tried everything to confound him, but he always came out on top. She now has a fixation on thwarting Mr. Forti that has taken an unhealthy turn.
She plans to replace his QWERTY keyboard so whatever he types will be gibberish on the other end. It will require a little light burglary, avoiding the Forti Hound from Hell, and disabling the alarm.
What she doesn't know is that Mr. Forti has been a puppet of the nefarious Dena Pawling who has used the flash fiction entries to send coded messages to her team of librarian warriors intent on rounding up overdue books around the world, and sending the due-date-delinquents to the hoosegow. Thwarting Forti will flummox Pawling, and a flummoxed Pawling is a dangerous - and frightening - thing.
Working at cross-purposes, with competing agendas, the fate of libraries around the world - the guardians of democracy - hangs in the balance.
NO: My novel is about the heartache, trials and tribulations of a poor, overworked agent and the many people put on this earth to keep her from her reading couch.
NO: The theme of my novel is (anything.)
YES: This ensemble caper novel runs 68,000 words. It comes with blurbs pried from helpless blog readers, and the author's 68-million name mailing list.
NO: My novel is suspense/women's fiction with a splash of haiku, much like Ogden Nash crossed with Nash Bridges, and if James Joyce had written it.
YES: I am the author of three previous novels: Kale Fields at Dawn (Carkoon Press:2015); Kale Fields at Lunch (Carkoon Press: 2016) and Kale ForEver (Carkoon Press: 2017)
In my spare time, I read library books (but don't keep them past the due date.) [see how that fits in with the plot?]
NO: Felix Buttonweezer is the author of three previous novels...
NO: I can get blurbs from these 17 NYT Bestsellers, including two who are dead.
NO: I am going to (anything). [no predicting the future]
NO: I've been previously published (with no details.)
NO: I'm really boring.
NEVER: I'm just a stay at home mom. [Dismissing the most important work you'll do in your life as just a mom is simply unacceptable. I may need to come to your house and explain this.]
SUCK UP SECTION
YES: I'm querying you because I liked what you said in a recent blog post/I love Patrick Lee's The Breach/I appreciate that you'll look at just about anything.
NO: I think you'll love my book; I think my book is a good fit;
NO: I think you're the cat's pjs and should represent me/You'd be stupid to pass on this.
TRANSPARENCY (if needed, not everyone does)
YES: I was previously represented by Barbara Poelle, but she's doing much better now.
NO: My last agent was a douchecanoe who never kept me updated, screwed up the submission list, and got me three offers that were lousy so I fired her cause I know I can do better.
YES: Thank you for your time and consideration.
NO: The theme of my novel is the ennui of modern life.
NO: I know you'll love my novel
NEVER: I'll call you later this week to see what you think.
NEVER: Please get back to me
NEVER: I'm going to self-publish if you don't take this on.