By Jennie Goloboy
What does an agent need to know when reading a query? It’s fairly simple, what type of book you’ve written and what the book’s about. It’s surprising how many authors start queries with things an agent doesn’t need to know. Here are some examples:
1. Famous people met “once upon a time”
I always take a special look at prospective clients who are referred by mutual friends, especially if the friend knows the author’s writing well. Those are the sort of personal introductions that are very useful for an agent to know.
However, if you met Writer X at a book signing, and shared your book idea with Writer X, with the only response being “That sounds interesting. Who should I sign this book for?” It’s probably not a good idea to start the query with a quote from Writer X.
2. Queries that start with a rhetorical question
Can two people from different worlds fall in love? Can Bob find the princess in time?
Is the answer ever no?
3. How long it took to write the book
All things being equal, most agents will consider a book written by someone who’s both talented and a fast writer. If it took twenty years to write the book, it’s absolutely unnecessary to share this information until an agent falls in love with the book.
Additionally, if it took this long to write one book, what can we expect regarding this project and future ideas?
4. That the manuscript is professionally edited
It goes without saying that agents prefer to see a manuscript in its best shape, i.e. thoroughly edited. Whether a friend did it for free (in exchange for your famous cupcakes), or a professional editor edited the manuscript necessarily isn’t our concern. The thing that matters most is that book is well-written (post-editing)