Friday, April 17, 2009

#queryday in Their Own Words

I've followed this nearly all day. Crazy, I know. Anyway, here's a summary if you happened to tune out or have more important things to do.

rachellegardner: Tip: Don’t send us something outside of our guidelines and try to impress us with how “out of the box” you are. It’s been tried!

DaphneUn: You need to have a finished manuscript before you query.

danielliterary: Despite the advances made in self-publishing, the average self-published book still sells less than 200 copies

JoeBerkowitz: Don't describe your writing as accessible, unputdownable, or any other vague qualitative term. If it really is, we'll notice it.

KatPaws: Be careful re: protagonists with strange names. If the name isn't easy to grasp, the character may feel less accessible.

danielliterary: One huge mistake is to go on and on telling me how great your book is. Let me be the judge of that.

KatPaws: Don't tell me all the reasons you're positive your book will be the next bestseller. SHOW ME with fine-tuned quality writing.

LeighEllwood: For e-mail queries, use a professional font, no flowery script. And no backgrounds.

DaphneUn: In a query, I want a hook, but not the whole shebang, Save the final reveal (She's a He!) for the full synopsis.

rachellegardner: Tip: I prefer your query NOT tell me what a great movie your book would make. If it has movie potential, trust me, I’ll notice.

elanaroth: Smart cookie author/illustrator: did not attach art to email, but pointed me to link of her art online. Win.

ColleenLindsay: Attached entire manuscript and a head shot. Fail.

HollyridgePress: We always want to know something about a writer's publishing background

KatPaws: Target your submissions. Word count. Genre. These things MATTER. You can't play if you can't follow the rules. Fail.

rachellegardner: Biggest mistake? It's all about the book. The writing is usually not developed enough. Story not unique, compelling.

KatPaws: Don't query that you've written 11 books and wonder if I'm interested in reading them. Focus your efforts, query one at a time.

elanaroth: This query is 2 paragraphs about the virtues of fantasy and 1 paragraph about his book. Uh...

bostonbookgirl: I don't really care if you had an editor for the manuscript. No need to mention.

booksandcorsets: If we didn't think a writer was good, we wouldn't sign them. But we buy BOOKS not careers. Book by book.

rachellegardner: Keep looking for gainful employment. The query is most definitely NOT a good way to plan on paying your bills!

chriswebb: Never tell me "there is no competition for this book." Yes there is. Maybe it isn't a book...

bostonbookgirl: More important than anything: WRITE A GOOD BOOK. Good writing, good plot & good voice trump all.

moonrat: most important thing in your query letter is you (ur platform). 2nd is your 20-word hook. in that order.

moonrat: platform: 1)what uve published, 2) who u know, 3) ur expertise, 4) ur media experience

rachellegardner: My last word on 1 space vs. 2 spaces: Anyone who complains about this should be banned from computer, forced to use typewriter.

DaphneUn: A little advice: read your query out loud before sending it. Are you running out of breath? You're using run-on sentences.

angelajames: Why do we like manuscripts double spaced? Easier to read, room for notes, easier to read, room for making pre-edits,easier to read

LJHatton: You have to have confidence in your MS, but you have to be realistic, too. If it's broken, fix it or tenacity won't save you.

KnightofShadows: I would suggest 'Proper Manuscript Format' by William Shunn of the SFWA as req. reading. I like the 2 space paragraph.

KatPaws: Remain open-minded and be ready to revise. Even if your query is successful, you need to be open to changes every step of the way.

DaphneUn: A manuscript should be seen and reviewed by a critique group, and you can show the query to them, too! In all, at least 3. (regarding edits before query)

DaphneUn: I know we tell you to write what you know, but how many novels do we need about writers? Starting to be a cliche...

patricemichelle: Best advice I ever heard on "where to start your novel": Start your novel where the character conflict and plot conflict collide.

elanaroth: I wish everyone who queried did so from their own email addy, not their husband's or the family's collective acct.

ColleenLindsay: Yes, you really do need to put your phone number and address on e-mail queries. Honest.


  1. Thanks for doing this! I'm dizzy trying to follow twitter & this is perfect!

  2. Got bug eyed looking at pages of incoherent grou[s of words on Twitter@#Queryday and then a writer friend sent me this link. Wow! and thanks so much for your work. Recognize many of the lines, but lovely to have them listed so neatly.

  3. Glad this helped. I tried following #queryfail after the fact and it was a disaster so I figured this would help!

  4. I'm so glad QueryDay exists! A good list of do's and don'ts is always helpful.

  5. Thanks for posting! I tried to follow all day, really I did, but two seconds away and . . . arrrgghhhh, Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown once again. : )