I did too, but not anymore! Because...
I participated in a totally awesome Query Letter training workshop today!! It was given by Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest, and I learned SO much. (There are several other webinars coming up and if the quality matches up to the one I took today - I suggest you check them out.)
I now feel completely prepared to query. (Except for the teensy tiny fact, of course, that my manuscript isn't yet complete.)
Participants were allowed to e-mail drafts of their queries beforehand. During the workshop Jane critiqued each one and gave a wealth of information about the things that make query letters successful. Right now, I'm kind of on cloud 9 because guess what - SHE LIKED MY QUERY!! She even said I had a "killer" final line. (And before you think it, no, that didn't make me biased about the quality of the presentation. Even if she'd marked through every line of my text, I still would be raving about the workshop.)
Here are some of the things I took away from the workshop about queries:
- Keep your query tight - BRIEF IS BETTER
- Only highlight the very key points of your manuscript
- It's okay to leave an agent guessing - you want to leave them wanting more
- Don't tell the entire story - or what happens in the end - the agent should want to ask for more information, not be told everything up front
- If you're a part of an association, or writing group, tell the agent in your credentials - it shows that you're putting time and effort into your writing career
- The hook should introduce the agent to your protagonist, by name. It also needs to tell the agent what the protagonist's challenge is, (be it change or conflict).
- The hook should be kept to the point - conciseness is really important.
- Think about reading a movie summary on a Netflix envelope... that's how short the hook should be.
- Ideally, the hook should be 1 paragraph - no more than 150 words, and
- it should comprise of at least 75% of the query.
Obviously, I'm no expert on the matter - as I have yet to send any queries out. There are tons of other, great resources out there. But I still wanted to share some of what I learned! (There was a lot more, but I don't want to give away Jane's material - you should DEFINITELY take her workshop if/when it's offered again!)
PS I'll totally show you my query draft if you want to see it - it's just that I recently downloaded Paint.Net and am having SO much fun playing with all of the effects :)