Query writing tips

I’ve been stuck in the query trenches for a long time. I’m determined to be represented by an agent and my perseverance has taken me on quite a journey. My next step is to submit to American agents. I’m finding this process similar yet different. Let me explain.

Unlike British agents who ask for a synopsis of one page. Agents in America tend to allow 3-5 pages. Meaning on top of revealing the plot, character arcs can be shown. Read my post How to Write a Synopsis for more details.

paper pen writing novel author fantasy Lorraine Ambers

Agents in America will only ask for a partial or full manuscript based on the query. Some agents ask for the first five pages of your novel, perhaps the first chapter – but no more. It’s a great way to ensure that writers utilise every word in a concise and intriguing way.

The query pitch has a slightly different format too. Over at Query Shark, hundreds of queries are critiqued by willing participants. The agent’s comments are brutal but honest. By reading through examples you can learn the best way to introduce your main character, how to reveal the stakes and let the reader  care. Of course, it goes without saying, a great hook is universal. And knowing your premise is the first place to start.

I highly recommend my fellow writers to take a look. Even if you’re planning to self-publish, the tips are helpful for blurbs too – the writing on the back cover of a novel that entices readers to by your book.

Happy writing fellow authors.

Remember, for dreams to work – you must too.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

15 thoughts on “Query writing tips

  1. What ticks me about agents is that they’ll never tell you what is wrong. For anyone who has watched the TV show, Seinfeld, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that when they give you a rejection they’ll either not reply at all, or give you the George Costanza break-up line. “It’s not you, it’s me.”

    I know they’re inundated with queries, but just a few seconds to give you an idea of what to work on would be so helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean and feedback would be fantastic. But once I understood that rejection isn’t necessary about bad writing, but more about the right hook for that agent, the easier it is to handle.

      Like

  2. I’ve just finished querying UK agents and now waiting replies (if any). If I get all ’Nos’ I was thinking of self publishing or the US agents. I really prefer the traditional route but ideally wanted an agent I could meet if needs be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wanted an agent here too, until I attended an event at Bloomsbury. The agents I spoke with assured me that distance is no problem, as contact can be made in various ways.
      One of the agents recommended I try the American market – for my genre it makes a lot of sense.
      Best of luck on your journey, I’d love to read about your experience so far.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Lorraine, that’s reassuring. Maybe I have some more queries to write. Last time the US seemed more interested in my story, I think they like our high schools as it’s culturally different.

        Liked by 1 person

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