And of course, all of this is accomplished in 300 well-crafted words or less.
Tracey and Josh Adams of Adams Literary taught our class on creating quintessential queries. Their agency receives over 10,000 queries a year. Agent Quinlan Lee reads them super fast and red flags the ones their agency might have interest in. Your objective, as a writer is to get that red flag!
|The Quintessential Couple|
Tracey and Josh Adams
"The goal of a query is to get your work noticed," Josh said. "It's just like a bookstore; you want a reader to pick your book off the shelf."
How can a writer accomplish this? According to Josh, you must:
- Find your “hook.”
- Keep it short. Get to the heart of your book quickly.
- Make it relevant. Only give important information that the agent will care about.
- Reflect your personality. Be yourself. Put yourself out there (but not in embarrassing way!)
- Send your best work, but keep in mind that it is "ready to submit" rather than "done."
During the week each participant in this Free Expressions seminar received critique time with Lorin Oberweger, Brenda Windberg as well as consultation time with Emma Dryden and Nancy Conescu.
I used my time with Emma to review my query. I was happy to hear that my beginning, in which I reminded the editor of her interest in my manuscript; and my ending, where I listed my relevant writing experiences, were both solid.
But the middle--in which I gave a synopsis of my book--needed work. Within 15 minutes Emma and I had brainstormed a paragraph that not only concisely describes my book, but in the process, I also learned more about my characters and plot.
What's the moral of this story? Not only is writing a quintessential query your foot into an agent's door (or in-box), but writing it before you finish your manuscript may help you define your book and push forward.
Next week will be my final blog post in this series. Advice and tricks on revision will be brought to you by the YA Muses.
If you missed the other blogs in this series, here they are:
Free Expressions Takeaway Part I- Voice and Deep Point of View
Free Expressions Takeaway Part II- Deep Scene
Free Expressions Takeaway Part III- World Building