Friday, November 19, 2010

Your query critiqued - in person! (Sort of.)

Of the many painful, time consuming, and dreaded tasks writers are faced with in the hunt for a publisher, writing the query letter may be the most painful. Sure, writing a synopsis is difficult - how are you supposed to capture the meat of a book and show the conflict progression and give a healthy taste of the characters in the requested one-page synopsis? - but a query is worse, because the query is the "Hi!" to the agent or publisher that's supposed to, in a single page, make them want to read your manuscript.

It seems like it should be easier than it is. All that's asked for is a page, after all, and the format is pretty standard: hook, brief synopsis, bio. Simple, right?

Have you tried writing a hook and a gripping synopsis? offers very helpful query-writing instruction that includes a detailed explanation of what's expected, and even sample hooks. If you're having trouble, or if you're unsure of the basic query format, I recommend taking a look.

Our boss (the one you're still trying to stump so you can win $50) wants to help you write a successful query letter, so he's inviting you to send your letters for a critique. It could be your first one, or it could be one you've been sending around for a while and just haven't had a response to - if you want to know why it may not  be working (or whether it will work), send it in. Selected letters will receive an in-person (that is, video recorded) critique we'll post here on our video page, as well as on YouTube.

Alternatively, if you have a query letter that has been very successful, our boss would like to see that, too, and share it with those who may be struggling so they can learn from your technique.

Attach your letter to an email as a Word doc. and send it to (Your name and the title of your work will not be shared during the critique.)

- Lyla P.

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