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What a Query Says About You

A query letter says more than just what the book is about. Your query gives a sense of your writing ability, your voice and your willingness to do the work.

The author who follows basic query guidelines knows publishing is a job and what the job requirements are. They’ve included word count, a full blurb, and an author bio. They are taking the necessary steps to move forward toward a career in publishing.

An author who hasn’t put in the work and writes a query that says, “I’ve been published, I want another agent, I’ll send you my work,” is not someone who will necessarily do the work that will be needed, published or not.

My decision to request more material from a query is based almost totally on the blurb. My decision to offer representation is based almost totally on the manuscript, but I also look at the author.

Was the author easily able to follow instructions, or did they fight it, as if they didn’t have to? To me, that’s an author who will fight basic steps to find a publisher and turn in their work. Mostly though, it’s an author who will likely fight revisions.

Getting published isn’t easy. Both the author and I will work hard to make their manuscript the best and find the best house for it. Signing an author who is going to fight me to get those necessary things done is not someone I want to work with. Life is short, I want to make it as enjoyable as possible.

For more information on query letters, check out the BookEnds YouTube Channel!

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7 comments

  1. Thanks for this! When I query I do my homework, and hope the agents can see this. The only thing that does stink, is when you submit via an online form, which seems to limit what you can add to it…

  2. Great, advice. Especially for someone preparing the Query of a manuscript they believe in. It tells me that the labor that never tired through the rewriting and editing will show in the end. Thank you.

  3. Many thanks for your useful post. I will begin the query process for my first novel in about a month, so the plain truth about queries is timely.

  4. Thank you so much for these important comments. I am currently doing research to write the best query I can to represent my work. This has been a great help.

  5. Thank you.

    Why would any author not want to do what is necessary or required to get their book published by a reputable publisher? Seems to me that would be a given.

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