The Succesful Query Letter: doing the opposite of everything I have been ever been told


Because sending emails with missing attachments, pocket updating my Facebook status with such as gems as ‘Jackie is  slkdjfsldf’ and broken links on my LinkedIn account weren’t enough I have recently been introduced to a whole new arena of potentially damaging electronic embarrassment: the query letter.

Misspelling agency names, classifying my work in the wrong genre, or discovering (about 20 queries in) that the email account I have been sending my queries from should be some derivation of my name and NOT my favorite childhood snack. On her blog, agent Jessica Negron of Talcott Notch Literary Services explains that she addresses her correspondence according to the name indicated in the sender’s original account name and  that “[You] don’t want [her] to know you as cutieBoiLala345678).”  Or in my case, Mrs. Popcorn. Oops.

The worst part of it is that when it comes to making mistakes I have come to learn from the Border-Gaurd-like tone of most agency sites, that any such error can be a Complete and Total deal-breaker on par with enclosing a maggot-infested cat’s head with your lover’s Valentine chocolates.

Though I don’t blame myself for making mistakes–that is all part of learning how to do something new–I do blame myself for not accounting for them. So, from now on I’m going to do the Opposite of what Query experts like Chuck Sambuchino and Nathan Bransford suggest, I am going to start with the agents I think are least likely to be interested in my manuscript (but of course would make me crap happy if they proved me wrong). This way I can still get my work out there, but do it a bit slower pace so that by the time I meet The One I will have spent so much time polishing that letter it will  be fricking blinding.

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