Be Careful What You Ask For: Questions In A Query

Haven’t you always wondered if up is really down?

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Does love always have to hurt?

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Do you want to see my manuscript?

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I think I’ve made my point, but I will blather on a bit anyway:

  • DON’T OPEN YOUR QUERY WITH A QUESTION. YOU WILL NOT GET THE ANSWER YOU’RE EXPECTING.

An agent/editor skims through a billion queries weekly. She knows how to find a spark of that special something, and frankly, rhetorical questions are lazy. You are asking the reader to do the mental heavy-lifting.

If you ask the agent/editor something along the lines of, “What if a moose fell in love with a squirrel?”, her mind will begin to construct a scenario BEFORE you describe your story. Then her brain has to go back and integrate her story and your story, compare and contrast, discard certain things, augment others, etc. It actually muddles your sales impact.

  • DO NOT ASK IF YOU CAN SEND YOUR MANUSCRIPT.

This may be a personal pet-peeve, but this goes back to my feeling that you are not begging for the favor of being represented, and neither are you simply hiring representation. (Though technically and legally, you are.) You are looking for a partner. My preferred question is: “Is this something you’d be interested in?” OR “Is this something you’d be interested in representing?” OR “Would you like to see this manuscript?” or anything along those lines, just not PERMISSION TO SEND. Ick.

Happy-Grumpy-Cat

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