Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Query Letters

Here's an interesting article about query letters and the fact that some agents just aren't reading them anymore. It seems that some agents are just skipping to the "please submit first five pages" part of the query. OMG!!!

First - I hate writing query letters.

Second - I seriously hate writing query letters.

Third - have I mentioned that I hate writing query letters?

Fourth - I write query letters because agents insist I write a query letter to sell my work. I must come up with a hook and an intriguing synopsis for my query letter.

Fifth - OMG, some agents aren't reading all the hard work - teeth gnashing, nail biting, hair pulling (trust me, my hair is receding fast enough as it is, I don't need to pull out clumps of hair while attempting to write the perfect query letter), and all the other angst associated with writing the perfect query letter - I put into the query letter.

So, it seems that with all the advice on the Internet, on all the different writing and agent blogs, all the books available at your local bookseller, the art of the query letter has reached the point where some agents are tired of the query letter and skipping to the good (or bad in some cases) stuff of the requested first five pages, first chapter, first 1,000 words, or first whatever. Why? Because the excellent query letter is a clever facade, giving a false impression of an excellent writer, for - sometimes - bad writing. Go figure!!

I mean, can you really sum up the brilliance of a 70+ thousand word work of fiction in one page? Can you truly synopsisize (I know, not a word, but I'm taking the personal liberty my English Comp teacher told me I could take with my writing) 70+ thousand words into a single paragraph? How is such brilliance (no, I did not add Bailey's to my coffee this morning) compressed into one page? And, if it is compressed into one page, and an agent skips over the brilliance of the one paragraph synopsis, then what was the point in the first place?

Is my frustration showing yet? If so, sorry. I'm just in one of those very snarky moods today. I know agents get tons and tons and tons of queries every single day. I know they have to plow through them all and, for those that do, send polite declines to the majority of the queries they receive. I know that query letters are supposed to set the proverbial stage for the agent. Wouldn't it be more simple to just request the first five pages of every manuscript and just forget the query letter, the hook and synopsis? I mean, if some agents are skipping the letter part anyhow . . . I'm just saying . . .

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