Helpless against frustration

The query process frustrates many authors. They do their research, write the best book they can, and check off every box on the query checklist. And then they wait. And wait. And wait. They receive a form rejection. Another, another. They know this is how the industry works, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing. They did everything they could, and… Continue reading Helpless against frustration

do and don't · how to break the rules well · writing problems

Opening scenes: murder

Starting with a murder is common in the thriller/mystery/suspense genres. The kill kicks off the plot. The scene might lead the reader astray with red herrings. It might agonize us because we know things the detectives don’t. Just because it works doesn’t mean you should start with the murder. The murder opening isn’t just a… Continue reading Opening scenes: murder

do and don't · how to get a request for pages · query problems

How to write a query letter

A query letter’s main function is conveying the pitch for a book. But it has more moving parts than that. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown, with links to more detailed how-to posts on that section. Salutation: “Dear Firstname,” or “Dear Ms. Lastname,” PARAGRAPH 1 Optional intro: A sentence about how you found them: “I read your… Continue reading How to write a query letter

do and don't · query problems

Violating guidelines on purpose

A query today announced that the author understood we request a certain number of pages pasted into the email. However, they were attaching the whole thing for us. This isn’t just an auto-reject. I deleted the email. Saying they read the guidelines and then disregarding them shows disrespect for the literary agent. The consequences of… Continue reading Violating guidelines on purpose