Saturday, April 6, 2013

Your Query: Selling Yourself

Querying is about knowing how to sell yourself. Pure and simple. It's advertising, marketing, it's know how to be your own PR Firm, your own biggest fan. But of course, just like the best advertising, you don't want to tell people that you're the best and that they'd be idiots not to take you on or buy what you're selling, you want them to read your query and just KNOW.

Problem is, most writers are...well, writers. Not marketers. Not PR executives. Not advertisers. Most writers read, a heck of a lot, and spend most of their time with their noses in books, and the rest of their time trying to either recreate their favorite works of literature, or to make up their own. Most writers didn't go to Business school. But that's almost what you need in order to succeed as an author.

Your query is your brand. It's the only contact that an agent has with you. It has to jump up and scream your name and run circles around the room (NOT literally) and make the agent say "YES!" "THIS!" "I HAVE TO READ MORE!" and in my mind there are two ways to do this:

1. Have a kick-ass query
2. Have an incredible first chapter (that you cut and paste into the body of the email, if the agent's submission guidelines request it...)

The problem is, if your query is really THAT BAD...the agent might not even make it to the bottom of the page to read the pages that you pasted in.

So what do you do? How do you sell yourself in the hottest, sexiest, most irresistable way?
Well, for one, you can check out Nathan Bransford's Query Letter Mad Lib - I found that very useful when I wrote my first query.

Two, you can read the queries on the Queryshark website and see where they went wrong and pay special attention to the "ones that worked" or "the ones that got it right eventually"

And three, (and MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL!) you can send your query to the QUERYWHORE and she can help you with it.

Why am I doing this? Because it's fun. Because I care. Because I want to help you. Because I was there once, alone, forlorn, with nobody buying what I was selling...and then I became the's a long sad sobstory which I'll tell you some other day, but face it people, they don't call it query hell for nothing. And I'm offering you a one way ticket to paradise...(or at least a sweet little pink umbrella in your steaming hot cocktail glass!)

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