Monday, January 17, 2011

The last one!

Here are the rest of your questions from my querying/getting an agent Q&A:

Susan Fields said...
My question: I've heard that queries should be extremely short and to the point, yet often when I read a magazine article on queries that worked, they're pretty lengthy. What's a good word count for a query?
Different agents will tell you different things on word count. Some agents I queried had exact word count requirements of 200 words or something like that (yikes!). I think the best way to make sure your query isn't too long is to keep your "pitch" to two paragraphs, and if the whole letter can all fit on one printed page (formatted correctly -- no 8 point font and 1/4 inch borders), then you are good to go.

Can I ask another question? If not, just disregard. :) Say you get that call from an agent offering representation. Do you then email the other agents who are considering partials and fulls and tell them you have an offer and give them a deadline?

YES! You do exactly that. And usually you give them one week.

Kristine said... Great contest Sara--I'm getting in under the wire here. Here's my questions--I've done some work-for-hire and had a few things published. Is that impressing an agent? Or should I downplay it in my query?Thanks again for the opportunity.

Hmmm... I think it depends on what it was and how widely circulated your work was. I think it's good to show them you have some experience, but I wouldn't make it sound like a big deal (unless it was!). If it was a small local magazine or something, I'd mention it in your bio section, but just briefly. If it was a national magazine or publication, and particularly if it relates to the subject/genre you are querying, then you should make a bigger deal out of it. Does that make sense? I'm not the expert on this, so definitely do some more research on it before taking my word for it.

Rachel Searles said... Thanks for offering this contest! My question: how many people did you have critique your query before you sent it out?

The first time? Um... none? Yeah, I was a total greenie. I had no clue what I was doing other than having read Stephenie Meyer's website about how she bought Guide to Literary Agents, picked her top 15 or something like that, and sent off her queries. Bam! Instant millionaire. So I figured, I could do the same thing. As I've detailed in my "path to getting an agent" series last year, though I did get interest that first round, it didn't work out. Then I got smart and started getting help. I had about 5-6 people critique my queries after that every time. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Definitely don't make the mistakes I did!


I hope this series has been helpful and interesting! Thank you again for your questions. Happy Monday everyone!

9 comments:

Danyelle said...

Thanks so much for doing this, Sara! I've learned a lot. :)

Janiel Miller said...

Great info, Sara. So nice to hear about it from someone who's been there and is still in the process. Thanks!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great series! There's a ton of helpful info here.

Shari said...

Thanks for your invaluable expertise, Sara!

Jennie Bailey said...

Happy Monday, Mommy To Be To A Girl! These are great answers, as always. And, of course, bookmarked again. I have a whole Sara B Larson file now! :-) Which I recommend everyone do so that all the good stuff is right there when you need it. You don't want to have to dig for this a year from now when you're ready to query!!

Carolyn V. said...

Great answers Sara! I loved the last one. I thought writing was going to be as easy as Stephanie's. I was wrong. ;p

Pk Hrezo said...

Hi, Sara! I'm a new follower. Thanks for the great tips. I love your bio. I've taught myself to write during the same times--naps and nighttime, trading my sleep for honing my craft. It paid off for you. Hopefully I'll be as fortunate. :)
Nice to meet you!

Colene Murphy said...

Ha! Stephenie Meyer... I have theories on her answers to things...ANYWAY! Awesome answers as usual!!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Girlie, you need to make a page with links to all of your querying answers! You've got some really great advice! I have another question for you, but I'll email it...