Posted on Dec 17th, 2012 | 42 comments
One of the most common questions I receive is, “When is is okay to send another query to an agent who previously passed?”Another is, “If an agent passed on my query, can I send the query to another person at the same agency?”
There are various scenarios to consider, so here’s an overview.
First, whenever you are going to re-query, it’s a good idea to open your letter with a brief mention of your previous interaction with the agent or agency, and an explanation of why you’re writing to them again. (BRIEF.) That way, if your name sounds familiar to the agent, they won’t be sitting their scratching their head trying to figure out why.
Let’s look at some different situations.
Sending the same query to a different agent at an agency that...
Posted on Dec 12th, 2012 | 53 comments
If you’re like most writers, you’re probably not writing just one book. You’ve written multiple books, possibly in different genres. You may have a whole 3 or 6 or 9-book series planned. So the question naturally arises: Should I pitch my whole series to an agent? Should I tell them about my entire body of work? After all, I want an agent to represent all my work, not just one book.
Along similar lines, reader Jan wrote on Facebook: Whenever I check an agency’s guidelines, they always talk about pitching a particular book. I already have a book published, and I’m looking for an agent to help me build my career. How do I query/pitch in that situation?
The answer is simple and clear:
When querying or pitching an agent, always start with just one...
Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 | 142 comments
I was going through my current batch of query letters, and while many of them are very good, it reminded me how difficult it is to write a strong pitch. You have to accomplish so many things in a concise format: introduce your book in a way that the agent wants to read it; give just enough information about yourself to be helpful; convey a bit of your personality; avoid query landmines and clichés.
I understand it’s not easy. I never reject writers for making one silly mistake in a query — I sincerely assess whether the book being pitched looks interesting to me. But as I was going through my current batch, I found most of the same kinds of “sigh worthy” lines that I’ve been seeing for years. Try not to say things like this:
1. I’m certain this memoir will...
Posted on Nov 9th, 2012 | 601 comments
Let’s discuss the one-sentence summary, also known as a logline, a hook, or a one-sentence pitch. (It is not a tagline, however.)
What: About 25 words that capture your novel, memoir, or non-fiction book.
Why: To get someone interested in reading your book.
When to use it: The start of a query, book proposal, or anytime someone asks you, “What’s your book about?”
What it does: A one-sentence summary takes your complex book with multiple characters and plotlines and boils it down into a simple statement that can be quickly conveyed and understood, and generates interest in the book.
What it should include:
→ A character or two
→ Their choice, conflict, or goal
→ What’s at stake (may be implied)
→ Action that will get them to the goal
→ Setting (if...
Posted on Sep 13th, 2012 | 3 comments
Next week I’m headed out to the ACFW conference (American Christian Fiction Writers) and I’m sure I’ll see some of you there! Rachel’s post yesterday on the Books & Such blog gave some great advice about talking to agents and editors at conferences: It’s Not All About the Pitch. But I know many of you will be pitching, so I wanted to go over some tips.
I think the secret to making a great pitch is to start with a bit of context or background, then tell me about your book. It doesn’t have to be in-depth, considering your time restraints. But take a moment to introduce yourself and your project before pitching.
Too often, people sit down and nervously launch into some kind of story and I find myself dizzy with confusion. I feel like a deer in the...