Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Querying - Part 3 - Pace Yourself

Your query will change. Over and over again. This is the reason why we're so strongly advised to pace ourselves, sending out no more than five queries a week.

Why? Because you're going to go to bed and just as you shut your eyes, thinking you'll be dreaming happy dreams of a future book contract, you'll realize...Damn, I should have added/removed that bit in my query. Good luck trying to sleep after that.

Not only that, but you'll run into things, querying tips along the way (because you're in that mindset, and anything query related will jump out at you, begging for a moment of your time).

I sent out my first five queries for this week and have promised myself to send out no more until next Monday. Believe me, it's hard. The compulsion to shoot off a few more to my nice long list of reputable agents is so strong, I truly feel like giving in...just one more, I tell myself.

Well, just this morning on my drive to work, I realized that there were key elements of the heart of the story that needed to be added. And just yesterday I'd read in one of Nathan Bransford query tips post that specificity is crucial. Make sure you include the highest stakes, and that it's clear what your characters are up against. For email queries, include the first 10 pages in the body of the email (no attachments), even if they don't ask for it. The area, where you can ignore the submission guideline to provide query only.

Here are the tips in quick read format:

  1. Include:  [Agent name], [genre], [personalized tidbit about agent], [title], [word count], [protagonist name], [description of protagonist], [setting], [complicating incident], [verb], [villain], [protagonist's quest], [protagonist's goal], [author's credits (optional)], [your name] (see Bransford's post for more info)
  2. Be specific, leave out any vagueness. It only makes your book sound like any other book (see what I deleted from my query below).  
  3. Include whether you are submitting simultaneously or not
  4. Email queries: include the first ten pages in the body of the email (no attachments)

So here's attempt number three. Small changes, but with such limited opportunity to capture someone's interest, every little inch/twitch/detail helps. Hope this helps you in your querying journey!


Dear Ms Agent::
Because you represent [x,y,z] and because [personalized information about the agent], I feel that VIOLET STORM might be of interest to you.

Aeva Storm has just won the most gripping championship victory in Fila history when she is struck by lightning. After seeing her incredible skills and athleticism, Behr Absilim believes that Aeva is exactly what he’s been searching for the perfect instrument in fulfilling his plans to unmake the City of Light. Behr is the genius behind human Modifications, the technology that’s given new life to the vaincre-diseased plaguing the City-bloods. In secret, Behr steals Aeva’s body and surgically alters her, turning her into a nearly immortal weapon of death.

Using her family as leverage, Behr manipulates Aeva into assassinating the Monarch, ruler of the City of Light. To make things worse, Aeva isn’t Behr’s only secret creation; equally magnificent and deadly pawns are just waiting to be unleashed upon the city. Aeva must now decide between saving the lives of everyone she loves and dooming the fate of thousands, or fighting back and risk losing everything.

At 93,000 words, written in present tense and first person point-of-view, VIOLET STORM is set in the far future after a catastrophic event nearly wipes out the human population. The story is full of action, romance, deception and surprising twists.

VIOLET STORM is my debut novel, and is being submitted simultaneously. I would be thrilled if you would consider it for representation. Below are the first ten pages for your review. Thank you very much for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best wishes,
Anna Soliveres     


  1. Thanks for sharing your progress. It's very helpful as I keep fine tuning my own efforts. It's also encouraging to be reminded that this is, indeed, a process that requires patience, perseverance and the occasional stiff drink.

    1. Thanks Julie! You won't believe this but I just scrapped most of this after reviewing it again last night. I re-read a lot of successful samples available online and one thing stood out, they were full of life. My query, although professional wasn't reflective of the tone of the book. I had a friend of mine, who is an amazing poet edit it for me, and he found quite a lot that could be improved.

      Sigh...querying is painful. LOL


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