The other day we had a conversation about how a query letter, or lack thereof, might hurt any potential success an author might have. Colette, our intern, felt bad that an author who has written a good book, might never see publication because of a poor query letter. Ever the Pollyanna, I told her I didn’t think this would really happen and explained why.
There’s a lot of emphasis placed on a query, and for good reason, it’s the first introduction an agent and an editor have to you and your work. That being said, there’s much more leeway to a query than I think most writers understand. Believe it or not, agents and editors don’t expect perfection. Believe it or not, few of us are actually perfect.
The reason I truly believe that a good book will always be found is because a good and determined writer will do whatever it takes to make it happen. That means working on the query to the same extent she will work on the book.
Query letters, like agents, come in all shapes and sizes and we all have those little things that tweak our interest no matter how rough the query might be. A foodie might be a sucker for anything food related, some will always fall for a sister story, while others have a difficult time turning away anything that hints at a serial killer.
Work on your query and make it the best it can be and remember that no one is asking for perfection, we’re just asking that you spark our interest and there are a lot of agents with a lot of different interests.