When you're ready to publish and you have a polished manuscript, one of the first things to do is write a query to send to agents (or publishers).
There are specific rules and guidelines for queries and they're different for an agent and publisher. So don't just write one and send it to both!
My favorite resource for learning how to write a good, strong, eye-catching query for an AGENT is the blog "Query Shark". It's run by a veteran agent in the industry and she shreds query drafts for the benefit of teaching. She'll answer questions, too, and provide really valuable feedback. Of course, she prefaces all of this by saying these are her opinions on how to make queries strong, but honestly her insight is gold and valuable to ALL who want to be published the traditional way.
She's been doing this blog for YEARS, which is great because reading each post goes by quickly. Oh, she'll also post updates. So if a query is shredded and then the author comes back with a revision that's better, she'll post both versions with all of her comments. LOVE IT.
As much as I love reading each Query Shark post, she does reference a "Template" for queries and says it can be found in the archives...but never tells us where in the archives...so guess what? I have combed the archives for YOU and found the template! YOU'RE WELCOME.
This is a very skeletal template that gives the BARE BASICS needed for a strong query. Can you include other information about the plot? Yes, but she is very clear about stating NO BACKSTORY. At least, very little backstory and only things the directly impact the main plot conflict. It's about keeping things trim and minimal, but still juicy and interesting. Trust me...writing a good query is hard! Especially since we, the author, know all the nuances of our story and characters and want to include them. To us it's essential, but to the agent and the query it is NOT. We just want them to be interested enough to request the manuscript. Let them discover those nuances on their own.
So, without further delay, here's the bare basic template for a good query to an agent:
What does the protagonist want? What's keeping him from getting it? What choice/decision does he face? What terrible thing will happen if he chooses A; what terrible thing will happen if he doesn't.
Here's another form of the same thing: The main character must decide whether to ________. If s/he decides to do (this), the consequences/outcome/peril s/he faces are______. If s/he decides NOT to do this: the consequences/outcome/peril s/he faces are________.
Obviously you don't just fill in the blanks, or just answer the questions. You use this template to get the important information in the right order. You build on to this skeleton. But, you start here, and work up.
Ugh, I'm going to need this soon. At least the info is out there in as friendly a way as possible. I think the key must be to not rush this stage of things. Start writing the query and the synopsis as early as possible so you can edit and tweak them over months and years. Notice, that's me getting up my courage to start writing these monsters. Queries aren't toooo bad, but I'm not looking forward to that synopsis.
pelwrath: My break and dinner at work will be busy with first read throughs.
Aug 21, 2023 11:27:43 GMT -6
Caulder Melhaire: I'm so bummed! I was trying to get an entry in, but inspiration didn't hit until the last minute, and I just wasn't satisfied
Aug 21, 2023 14:17:28 GMT -6
Caulder Melhaire: So instead I will read all the amazing entries and wish y'all luck
Aug 21, 2023 14:17:40 GMT -6
FoxxGlove: First look at all the Photograph entries makes for an amazing read. Gonna have a tough time voting, that's for sure.
Aug 22, 2023 11:03:09 GMT -6
Caulder Melhaire: New Rolling Weekly just dropped! Check it out and enter HERE
Aug 27, 2023 10:55:35 GMT -6
RAVENEYE: Whew, back from vacay, and I'm exhausted. No rest for the weary, though. I've got a lot of critting to catch up on.
Aug 29, 2023 11:51:39 GMT -6
RAVENEYE: And a new Weekly! Yay!
Aug 29, 2023 11:51:49 GMT -6
RAVENEYE: Ooo! A great prompt word too! aaaaaOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Aug 29, 2023 11:52:46 GMT -6
pelwrath: Don’t know if there are any members from Florida but please be safe as that hurricane bears down on you.
Aug 29, 2023 19:07:14 GMT -6
pelwrath: I like that prompt as well.
Aug 29, 2023 19:07:35 GMT -6
RAVENEYE: ONE MORE DAY TO ENTER THIS WEEK'S ROLLING WEEKLY.
Sept 1, 2023 11:45:54 GMT -6
Mazulla: I am too excited, just got a copy of Fairy & Folk Tales of Ireland by W. B. Yeats!
Sept 1, 2023 17:09:08 GMT -6
Caulder Melhaire: New 100 Weekly just dropped! Come submit your entry HERE
Sept 3, 2023 21:04:17 GMT -6
Caulder Melhaire: Apologies for the delay. Holiday weekend has my head on upside down
Sept 3, 2023 21:04:40 GMT -6
pelwrath: My mind has finally settled on what stories/books I want to start writing. A werewolf story with witches, warlocks, and other along with Sundowners 3.
Sept 4, 2023 9:56:37 GMT -6
pelwrath: I’ll pat myself on the back. I posted a link to a recent review of my first book in the boasting thread in the Accepted thread.
Sept 6, 2023 7:28:20 GMT -6
RAVENEYE: 6 HOURS LEFT TO VOTE
Sept 9, 2023 14:59:10 GMT -6
pelwrath: An FYI but ball parking my score, looks like 4th place for me. No surprise there and I do hope Raveneye does consider her entry in the W,P, and S even if she was the host.
Sept 10, 2023 1:18:59 GMT -6