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Friday, September 20, 2013

HOW TO QUERY AS LEARNED IN THE POURING RAIN

The first two to ask will get these two audiobooks FREE in return for an honest review!


VOODOO & LOVE IN THE FRENCH QUARTER

VOODOO & LOVE IN THE FRENCH QUARTER
Review for a shot at autographed AVENGERS cast photo!
 

SEX, VIOLENCE, EINSTEIN, & ELVES!

SEX, VIOLENCE, EINSTEIN, & ELVES!
Pride and Prejudice meets TRUE BLOOD


It came to me in the midst of a blinding downpour today:

The art of driving in the pouring rain is much like writing a query.

Yes.

There are similarities between the two.

For instance, the question:

SHE DOES SEE ME, DOESN'T SHE?



The truth? No. No, she doesn't.

In her mind's eye, she sees the face of her friend as she's talking into her Bluetooth headset.


By the dashboard clock, she sees that she's 10 minutes late.

In the rearview mirror, she sees the bouncing image of her lips as she tries to apply lipstick without ending up looking like Bozo the Clown.

But you? You she doesn't see.

Not to worry. Just drive as if everyone around you is going to do the stupidest thing imaginable, and you'll be just fine.

THE AGENT TO WHOM YOU'RE WRITING DOESN'T SEE YOU EITHER.



She sees the precious sleep she's missing by reading query after query into the wee hours of the morning.

She sees the worst pieces of prose from past queries that stick like cockle burrs in her mind.

She sees the long list of things she has to do the next day on less sleep that she wanted.

She sees the sad face of that editor saying "No" to her earlier in the day when she was so sure he was going to say "yes."

She sees the mounting bills she has to pay ...


BUT SHE DOESN'T SEE YOUR QUERY ...


at least not clearly.

What do you do?

With a driver, you honk the horn. With a weary agent, you reach out and shake her awake to truly see your query for what it hopefully is : engaging and intriguing.

How? However you do it, you have to do it in 10 seconds. That's how long you have before her routine of "Wax on; wax off" is finished. Actually, it's read, yawn, reject.

For you to get through to her, it has to be a one - two punch. Hook of a title. Then, wham! A fascinating one paragraph summation:

PROJECT POPE :

Robot priests construct their own Pope in their search for God. Then, the unimaginable happens. They find Him. {The classic by Clifford D. Simak.}

2nd Way Querying is like driving in the pouring rain:

JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DO A THING DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD.


Hundreds of thousands of drivers die needlessly each year by insisting on driving the speed limit in blinding rain.

In writing a query, you have fantastic leeway. You can write in any voice you choose. Frivolous. Condescending. Antagonistic. Suicidal, oh I repeat myself.

Your query is a business interview. Treat it as such and treat the agent as the potential employer. Be professional. Follow her website's guidelines. And show respect.

3rd Way Querying is like driving in the pouring rain:

YOU HAVE TO ALWAYS KEEP THE BIG PICTURE IN MIND:

In driving that is looking past the hood to at least 200 feet ahead of you. Flick your eyes from side to side to prevent nasty surprises. Keep looking at the rearview mirror to see what may be charging right at you.

In Querying :
Keep in mind the ultimate goal : intriguing the agent enough for her to want to read more.

You don't have to cram 500 pages of story into one page. In essence, you're writing a movie trailer. Remember the latest movie trailer you saw. Did it give the whole story? No. It teased, giving you the hero, the antagonist, and a glimpse of humor and danger.

Now, get to teasing those agents

6 comments:

  1. I have never written a query but I have ben thinking about doing so. Thanks for your tips! Yes I know, I should be in bed but I couldn't sleep.

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  2. Siv:
    I should be in bed, too. But I hate to because this is the last of my free time for the whole weekend! And a few ideas occurred to me for HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS and I wanted to get them into print before they evaporated!

    I pray that sleep soon comes to you. :-)

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  3. Just drive as if everyone around you is going to do the stupidest thing imaginable, and you'll be just fine. I'm still laughing at that one!
    Ten seconds to get her attention. Maybe not even that much times.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Driving safely is something I do now, but in my younger years I considered the speed limit a suggestion.
    Sometimes the movie trailer giveaway too much, or reviewers spoil things.
    But this is coming from a consumer point of view.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Alex:
    Glad I made you laugh. Yes, agents do not give us long to impress them!

    David:
    I agree: many reviews and trailers give ALL the good stuff away!! :-(

    ReplyDelete