Monday, February 13, 2012

Query Lessons. . .

I love when lessons contain a level of humor that not only teaches, but really makes you laugh.  I'm not talking about laughing so hard your stomach aches, eyes water and you pee your pants here.  Query Shark does this very well.

I have Query Shark listed in the links on my sidebar, but I'll be honest with you. . .I never really got into reading it.  I gave it a shot initially, but when weeks went by without a new post--or maybe there were new posts, but in different areas of the blog so you had to search for them--I kind of gave up.  However, the Book Ends, LLC blog started what they call "Workshop Wednesday." This weekly post takes query letters volunteered by authors and dissects them, telling what is right and wrong in each part.  And, in the beginning of each of these posts they mention Query Shark.

So, since I was reading these "Workshop Wednesday" posts and learning about query letters, I decided to check Query Shark on my feed again.  Low and behold, there were new entries!  I scrolled through and read the new ones, learning a lot in a short amount of time.  

And, oh, are these amusing lessons.  For example, here is an excerpt from one of her latest chompings:
Chapters and a synopsis are available at your request.  of course they are.  So are kidneys, first born sons, and bottles of whisky.  It goes without saying. Thus, you don't need to include it.
The first sentence is from the query.  And, yes, this is an obvious statement that would probably be a waste of precious seconds for an agent or editor.  I love how Query Shark responds.  It may seem a bit over-the-top to some people, but she sure gets her point across.

In another query disassembled--by Query Shark or Jessica Faust, of Book Ends LLC, I'm not sure which--the term "fiction novel" was used.  The reaction to this phrase?  Immediate rejection because the letter writer says that book doesn't exist simply by calling it a "fiction novel."  This made me laugh out loud.  I can see both sides of the phrase, but the agent's reaction to it will definitely keep me from putting it in any of my queries.  (I wish I could find it again, but I can't.)

Now here I must tell you that the Query Shark, herself, advises to start at the beginning of her blog--with the earliest posts--and read through to the latest posts.  She says it's a chronological lesson plan, so to speak.  Each new post teaches lessons built on lessons given in previous posts.

I just don't have the patience for all that.  There are hundreds of posts.  I don't have that kind of time.  So, I've been reading the new posts and taking the lessons to heart.

By the way, I put a poll on the side bar.  Please take a minute to answer, and note that you can choose more than one.

No comments:

Post a Comment