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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Common Query Problems

Currently reading - Flesh Circus by Lilith Saintcrow

Occasionally, I pop over to Rick Daley's The Public Query Slushpile.

I've been seeing two really big problems in queries lately:

1) Way, WAY too long. A query should fit on a single 8 X 11 1/2 page. With the other info you need, like your book title, writing credits, etc., that leaves 250, possibly 300, words to explain your manuscript. That's it. Rick left some wonderful advice to a recent submitter - Start with one sentence that describes your work and build from there.

2) No specificity. "This is a coming of age story about a young boy who discovers his magical destiny." What does that sound like? Harry Potter, maybe? It could also be The Once and Future King, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Perseus, Bellerophon or any other f***ing Greek myth. BE SPECIFIC! "After his super explosive toots accientally destroy his elementary school, GK is drafted by the President to become America's unstoppable weapon, FART BOY."* See the difference?

Now get back to drafting those superb queries!

*This is what I come up with after limited sleep. Don't try this at home.

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