Query tip 1: stay succinct! Here's the thing about query length--too long means an agent might skim (or even skip) rather than reading closely. Agents have limited time, plus a rambling query can often indicate a rambling story. #querytip
I advise keeping your query to 300ish words total; over 350 is edging toward the danger zone. 400 is almost always too long. There are (always!!) exceptions, but this is a good rule of thumb. Shoot for 220ish words for the story part, 50-80 for the bio and about-the-book part.
1. Put escalation in your query! Give us plot (what actually happens) and not just premise (set-up/the Big Idea of the story). Make sure your query shows the momentum of your early story, how the catalyst thrusts the character into the conflict.
2. It's a good idea to get to the catalyst--or at least some sort of present-day relevant action--by the end of the query's first paragraph. That draws us onward into the story. If your opening paragraph is 100% backstory/characterization/set-up, it can end up feeling stagnant.
I haven't done a writing-advice thread in a while because I was so busy working on my WIP, but now that I'm done, how about a chat on the top 5 developmental issues I see as an editor? 📚🖊️💕✨ #amwriting#amediting#writetip
One of the most common issues I see in manuscripts I edit is that the conflict isn't personal enough to the main character. They're doing their own thing, trouble ~happens~, then they have to avoid, fix, or triumph over the (impersonal) trouble.
The problem there is that the story could be happening to literally anyone. Some stories can make this sort of impersonal plot work, but most of the time, the more personal you can make the conflict the better.
How to craft a query: a step-by-step guide. The purpose of this thread is to help you create a starting point/query template upon which you can build! And customize! And generally spectacular-ify! Starting in 3...2...1... #querytip#amwriting
Queries should usually open with "Dear Mr./Ms. [agent's last name]". Some agents are okay with "Dear [agent's first name]," but I'd say to default to the former just in case. DO NOT open with "To whom it may concern" or "Dear agent." Don't be overfamiliar or unprofessional.
Remember: query letters are first and foremost a form of professional correspondence. A light, fun tone is totally okay!! But getting too personal/familiar with the agent (ie mentioning her looks, using a "Hey Jen!" salutation, etc.) is creepy.