On a 6:30 am 5 mile run, 39 degrees, headlamp in place, and bundled like…
Well that tells you right off the bat that there are problems. There are no perfect queries. Yes there are. The queries that sell the manuscripts. So that’s it! The query is your short ad or sales pitch, without sounding like you’re a sales person.
The query road is short, long, winding, and can trap you or free you. There are queries that got a longer look from an agent or editor, queries that requested another 50 pages, queries that sold the agent after the first two sentences, queries that were passed to the agent by your friend who is the the agent’s client, queries that were read by a summer editorial intern, queries that were read at conferences or workshops and got attention, and queries you never heard a response to.
I follow all the recommended formats, being a rule follower. But sometimes you need to just dig down into your emotion and say, This is what I want to say, and here is the _____ (you put in the adjective – whacky? querky? sweetie? gut wrenching) way I’ll say it. There are those magic query components: great opening and hook, one short paragraph about your manuscript, and one short paragraph about you. But how that magic is conjured is anyone’s witch’s brew. Some of the best queries I have read and heard: written in the character’s voice, written with a snappy or snarky attitude, written to creep me out, written to tug my heart, written in such spicy language that I need a glass of water! So I think I will grab a glass of water, and rewrite my query to bait my hook.