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Monday, December 16, 2013

More fiction news available

Connect with our other blog, www.freeandbargainebooks.blogspot.com

There's a new post there on a writing contest with terrific prizes. I posted a fantasy entry called TALKING ANIMALS; you can read it there. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

10 Dumb Things Not to do When You Query a Literary Agent---and What to Do instead

If you're a writer, you may be in a big hurry to start querying agents after you've finished a novel. But...make sure you don't do any of the ten things below. Take the suggested action and save yourself a lot of rejection.

10. Don't use a category rather than a name, e.g., Dear Agent. Do use the agent's specific name, e.g., Dear Ms. Lioness or Dear Mr. Lion.

9.  Don't misspell the agent's name. Do copy the spelling from somewhere online to make sure you don't omit or transpose letters.

8.  Don't research the agent; just send your query out. Not. Google the agent and find all the interviews she or he has done and especially read their web site and/or blog. You'll find a ton of information about them from who and what they represent and what they're looking for.
Do follow the directions you'll find on their web site, and make sure to double check because sometime they are closed for submissions until a future date or have changed what they want.

7.  Don't ask at least one person whose acumen you prize to critique your query--just send it off.  Wait! Have your critique group or beta reader or someone critique it and then make the suggested changes...You'll find your query will be much more specific and therefore, better.

6.  Don't write a scintillating query; just get down the facts about your manuscript and send it in. Do you realize how many "facts only" and sometimes even less than that agents receive? You want yours to stand out, so use power words (Google them and you'll find a couple applicable to your work); don't forget to insert them in your query.

5.  Don't include the genre of the novel. They'll figure it out. They may, but they may also be ticked off that you haven't followed their directions. So, if they say they represent romance, mystery, and thriller, choose one. If your story doesn't fall into one of the genres they represent, don't send it to them.

4.  Don't make up your own genre, e.g., a YA thriller romance horror story. Do use sanctioned genres that you'll find listed online if you Google "genres."

3.  Don't forget to tell the agent the name of your manuscript. Do tell them your proposed name. Don't get too hung up over it because the publisher will often change it anyway.

2.  Don't start with a 1-2 sentence logline that describes the book, unless the agent asks for one. Instead, start with what they ask you to start with, most often, a description of the book, but sometimes it's why you're querying them. In that case, start with that.

1.  Don't forget to include the number of words in your manuscript and contact information, according to the agent's wishes.

Do these things, and you're well ahead of the pack.

Good luck!