This week we're talking about some of the research we need to do while writing and pursuing a career in publication, using the analogy of a presentation I listened to last week. The presenter was trying to sell a product-- just as we are as writers. We're trying to get people to invest in us and in our stories, whether those people work in the biz or spend their mad money on books. And to get them to look at us, we need to know our audience, whether it's in our novels, a query, or a proposal.
We've all read agents who've talked about how important it is to follow the guidelines on their websites. They aren't suggestions. Those guidelines will guarantee our queries are read instead of tossed in the trash. I'm unagented so I've yet to write a successful query, but I'd imagine specificity (if possible) helps as well--as long as it's accurate--like comparing your novel to one that is already on a the shelves (that the agent represented) in a way that is fair, realistic, and compelling. I'm not saying we need to say "We're the next Karen Kingsbury" and we'll guarantee the same stage of success she has. But if our novel is comparable to a one she wrote, that's worth mentioning. For example, if I've written a book about a patient with a brain tumor, I might mention her novel Halfway to Forever as a comparable title.**By the way, this section is up for debate. I know this is a section in a proposal, but it's something I also read is a good idea in a query. Not as long or indepth, but a mention. What do you think?**
We need to do our homework, just as this guy did. Querying an agent who doesn't represent our genres won't get us very far. Not following guidelines will do the same, as will doing all the "wrong things" most of have read not to do by now. This blog is a result of my "homework". I started reading them a year ago and realized that I needed to build a viable, consistent presence--and that the information I'd learn would help me as a writer for the rest of my life. I didn't know about the community until I "came out" last July, but what a blessing!
Again, I learned the hard way how not to query a year ago and haven't tried again (took a year to edit the book). So I haven't done this successfully. But I know several agented authors read this blog, as well as a bunch of people like me--serious writers who are in the querying stage, have been studying it for a while, and have very necessary and accurate things to say. So please weigh in. What do you think? All comments are welcome, as always. And since my time to query is coming up, I'm taking the ensuing conversation under consideration as I create mine!
See y'all Friday!
8 hours ago