There are many mistakes to avoid when querying. Today, I’d like to highlight what I think was my biggest problem LAST time I tried to get an agent for my book (two years ago I tried to acquire an agent for a book that I’ve shelved for now… I got a couple of bites but overall it was rejections and silence… Not fun!).
What was this mistake, you ask? Well I’ll tell you: I thought my book would sell itself.
This may seem innocent enough, but it’s a dangerous notion! I thought that if agents would just read my book, if they could just get to the climactic scene, then they would know my genius!!
Now, if you’re lucky enough to get an agent to read your book, then ABSOLUTELY you want it to be amazing. You want every scene to be tight, gripping, every chapter ending should make the reader want to keep going. But that shouldn’t be what you rely on solely. After all, it’s often a big hurdle to get an agent to read your book in the first place.
Here are three things other than your manuscript to focus on when it comes to finding an agent:
- A Fabulous Query Letter
- An Interesting Synopsis
- An Impressive First Five Pages
These three things are the query essentials. Now, If I had spent a bit more time on developing these last time around, I think I would have had better results. Please don’t think that I’m suggesting that you spend any less time on the actual book – that’s crucial! But I you think you’ll be ready in a month, chances are, you should add at least another month of working on these three things so that you have a great set of Query Essentials.
Agents are busy and you can’t expect them to love the genius of your book without anything to go on. Convince them to read your book by setting it up really well.
In the coming posts I’ll talk about the mistakes I made with my last Query Essentials, versus what I’ve learned since then.
All the best,
Danielle M Hines