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.