Monday, October 18, 2010

Melissa's Myths for Mondays

Myth #9

There’s a Magic Formula for Query Letter’s

One thing I did not do when I started writing was to mass query agents with one query letter. Why didn’t I? Because I was too freakin’ scared to query anyone. I let them trickle out like the last few drops of blood available after the vampire holocaust. (Okay, the truth is, I still do.) I have to space my rejection out in small doses.

But I also learned through lagging, that every agent/agency has a different set of requirements and desires when it comes to query letters. Some agents want you to just cut the crap and tell them what your story is about. Some agents want to know why you think they would be a good match. None of them wants to feel like they’re just one of the crowd.

So how do you know? One of my best resources is Query You can set up a database of agents you want to query, make notes, attach query letters, keep stats. It’s the database I wanted to set up for myself, but couldn’t figure out how, and didn’t have the right software even if I knew. You can also link to interviews with agents, and their social networking sites as well. It’s a huge help finding out what you need to know about the individual agents.

Do you try to customize query letters to each agent you query? What sites do you find most helpful for researching and customizing query letters?


  1. Hi Melissa... Like you I am petrified of querying.
    The very thought of sending out a query letter to an agent has me breaking out in a sweat. I have heard a lot about Query Tracker. Will check that out.


  2. First of all, that is one ENORMOUSLY fat cat on the left. What is up with that? I think it's time to lay off the tune there, my friend, because there ain't no bariatric surgery for cats.

    Secondly, querying? I try to avoid it myself. Way too much of a hassle.

    Good luck and thanks for visiting my blog the other day. :)


  3. Ahhh, thanks for the linkage on Query Tracker. I'd heard about it around the hinterwebs but never understood what it was for. This was a great description, I will definitely have to check it out!

  4. I've been the same as you. I figure if you take things in small doses, you can become immune to them.

    I try to personalize my query letters, but not always.

  5. I'm glad this post has let some people in on the awesomeness that is Query Tracker. Really it is so amazing. The more you use it, the more you can make of the tools that are out there.

    And about my cat (Mitchell Lafayette) HE'S BIG BONED PEOPLE! I swear he is. Even my vet said so. No I'm kidding, he is too fat and I wish I could get him to cut down a little, but he's so greedy. I tried to cut his food one time and he held me hostage until I relented. He's very purrrsuasive.

  6. It's only sensible to customize the query letter to the agent in question. It only makes sense to write to them after knowing what they want.


  7. I'm not at that stage yet (I hope to be within the next few months though!, but I have been lurking around Query Tracker and it's absolutely awesome and chalk full of information.

  8. Query Tracker, definitely. I also spent some time on Publishers Marketplace, which was helpful. And you can go to Preditors and Editors too, which has a listing of rated agents in alphabetical order. But Query Tracker offers the best resources. It doesn't hurt to check out Guide to Literary Agents blog either, to see if any of your favorite agents have an interview there.

  9. I used query tracker all the time, and then tweaked each as I went along. As long as your hook is good and you are short and concise, the otehr stuff can be changed around according to requirements, methinks ;-)

  10. I made a mass-letter :/ I realize it was a mistake, even though I sent it off to them individually. After I've finished tearing my manuscript apart and putting it together again, I'll re-query and personalize every single one of them, and just send a few at a time.

  11. I do customise each letter but I'm a cut n paster for the body. I love querytracker. Might be putting her to good use soon:)

  12. Yeah, yeah - I'm in. People have been raving about query tracker forever. Guess its time I joined up.