DID YOU SEE IT YET? (and querying)

While many are getting ready to see Breaking Dawn (part one), there's another movie you may be psyched to check out this upcoming spring. And now you can see more of it than you ever have before.

The trailer for THE HUNGER GAMES is out. And we have it for you. Right here.

They're all I think about lately. They're all I talk about. All the sites I link you to have to do with QUERYING.

While there's plenty out there telling us how to formulate those important paragraphs sharing our hook, characters, stakes, plot points, etc,.... what do we do with those "other" paragraphs? The ones that go before/after the paragraphs we sweat, bleed and cry over?

The personalization, novel info and bio paras? Hmmmm?

You don't want to make them too long. You don't want to add any irrelevant information. You shouldn't personalize it just for the sake of personalizing it. Meaning: don't just type out meaningless crap that you took only seconds to research. Take it from (click link) Mary Kole,  "Just like with citing comparative titles, if you’re not going to do it well, don’t do it at all."

You don't want to comp titles/authors that are too well known.  You don't want to use books published too long ago.

You don't want to include information about yourself that doesn't pertain to your novel, yet you want to give the agent a sense of who you are.

Many times there is a lot of conflicting advice floating around on agency websites, in agent interviews and on agent blogs, and in feedback from various agents.

What's a writer to do?

I think for us newbies, the best bet is to keep it short and simple.

DO personalize.  BE specific.  Tell the agent about a specific conference you attended with them and quote them.  Tell them something they said that you connected with or felt was brilliant.  Mention a specific blog post they wrote and how it helped you.  Mention something they said in a specific interview.  How did that comment/information lead you to believe you and the agent would be a perfect fit?

DO share  about your education/studies in one sentence.  DO share any published work you have, but INCLUDE the publisher, the date, the specific information.

DO state your novel's title, word count, genre, and intended audience.

DO comp your novel to others IF you can be specific.  Does your novel match another author's voice? (Make sure it shows if you've included pages.) Does your MC have the same spunk as so and so's MC?  Is there a conflict in your novel that matches the conflict in a published novel?  Does the romanctic tension in your novel mirror that of a published novel?  Does your world-building compare to another author's fantasy world?

HOWEVER.  If comparing your novel to others out there, make sure your query shows how it will stand out next to all the novels already out there that have similarities.  Otherwise, you know, it's like...yeah, been there, done that.  Already published!

What's your advice to me on how to handle the beginning and end of my  query?  Where do you tend to put the novel information, at the beginning or the end?  Why?


  1. I'm so excited for that HG trailer. This movie suddenly has possibility. And normally, they screw these things up. :)
    RE: querying. I've thought about this a lot and in the end, it feels like the most important thing is to have a pitch and an idea that an agent is interested in. All that other stuff is really just gravy.

  2. I think I'm the only person in the blogging world not interested in that movie. Sorry :-(

    Love your querying points. Seems short and to the point is best since no one has time for anything long.

  3. Thanks for the query advice. Sadly, I've written and revised many queries, and I'm still learning. A query for one manuscript can be written a zillion different ways, most of them bad. No two people will ever critique a query the same either. At least mine have improved. My first ones were dreadful!

  4. I, like you, have heard it so many ways. I usually (unless I research and find that the agent prefers it otherwise) put the title, genre, and word count up front. For me, that provides a simple framework and better sets up and orients the agent up to read your summary. I agree about not doing the extra stuff unless you can do it well.

    That Hunger Games trailer is sooooo good!

  5. Everyone does it differently but I put my book information and word count after the blurb. I personalize query in the first. But I've come to the conclusion that that's not super important. The research is more important so you actually know who your querying not to impress them in the query letter. In the first paragraph, I let them know why I'm querying them and that's it.

    I do use the title in the first paragraph though.

    Best of luck!

  6. I did see the trailer, and I can hardly wait!!!

    As for querying, part of it is gut instinct because agents are all so different. Your advice was excellent! I'd add, the most important thing is to get to the good stuff and don't ramble, or you'll lose their interest.

  7. That HG trailer was riveting, and I'm not an HG fan. :-)

    The best query advice I have, after doing what feels like about thirty thousand of them, is pore through books on writing that have examples of successful queries, and when you find one that resonates with you, try patterning your query on it. If it doesn't work, try a different one. And like Heather said, get to the heart of your story, deftly, or you'll lose the agent's interest.

  8. Querying's the worst. And YES! I've seen the trailer. It is soo good. I'm sure I'll be bawling like a little baby girl in that movie. LOL! :D

  9. I'm sorry; I couldn't read anything you wrote because I was crying over that trailer.


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