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Five More Things to Avoid in a Query Letter

The second post of the Writer's Corner blog listed five things to avoid in a query letter. Here are five more.

  1. Don't mention how long it took to write your novel or why or how much you love writing.
  2. Don't carry on about what you hate about novels today and how yours is oh so superior. Don't put down other author's novels. It will make you seem difficult to work. And if you have that kind of attitude, you probably are difficult to work with. Better not to let potential agents know that you are a conceited fool, especially in your query letter.
  3. Don't mention who you paid to edit your novel and how much he adored it. You paid him. Of course he adored it.
  4. Do not beg. Don't mention that you know the agent is overwhelmed with query letters, but if he reads your manuscript, clouds will part, the sun will shine, and angels will sing.

Focus on the five paragraphs of a good query letter. That is what will impress agents, and that's all you need in your query letter. Until an agent agrees to represent you, he doesn't care about anything but your book.

  1. Avoid typos and for God's sake, proofread your query letter. Avoid mistakes like these.

"Dear Mr. So and So:" and "Dear (Mr./Ms.) (editor's [or agent's] last name),". Yeah, we all know you're querying multiple agents, but have a little attention to detail, and edit your salutation appropriately before hitting send.

"I have also enclosed a synapses of my novel below." So now your novel has synapses. does it? "Look! It's moving. It's alive!" Congratulations, Doctor Frankenstein.

"brutally murdered by a cereal killer." As opposed to being gently murdered by a Cream of Wheat killer?

"I apologize in advance for the below history lesson. I do believe that it is relevant so bare with me, if you will." Images of an agent at his keyboard stripping down until he wears nothing but tube socks flash through my mind.

"If published, this novel would be my literacy debut." If published, I'm sure it would be, because your literacy definitely didn't debut in your query letter.

Query Oops [Lit Agent X]

Check out the original article on my website.