Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Hook, The Book, and the Cook.

Janet Reid might just hunt me down for taking advice from her nemesis the slithery Barbara Poelle, but . . .

I receive email updates from Writer's Digest. There is always good information in these emails. I store them in a little folder in Outlook. I rarely look back at them. Hey, I have VCR tapes I recorded 10 years ago and still haven't watched. I'll get to it . . . one day. Anyhow, the email today had a link to this article from the blog Guide to Literary Agents.

Now, I'm not going to bore you with all the details - you can read them for yourself - but, Barbara (sorry, Janet) had some great advice called: The Hook, The Book, and The Cook.

The advice is . . .

Barbara Poelle used this catchy line to describe the three ingredients of your query letter. The hook is a one sentence description of what your book is about. Yes, one sentence. Check Publishers Lunch for examples of great loglines. The book: four or five sentences that give more detail about the story. The cook: brief information about you, the writer.

First - this is just what Barbara Poelle wants, not every agent. Every agent is different. That is the important thing to remember. What one agent loves another might hate, and vice versa! Keep. That. In. Mind!!!!

Second - I love this advice. This advice breaks the query into a very finite form. Yes, others have done the same, but I like the phrasing, so I'm repeating it here . . . but not attempting to take anything away from somebody else.

Third - need I say more? Barbara Poelle said it all in a very concise manner. Read it. Learn it. Use it!



Stina Lindenblatt said...

Thanks for the info Scott. I get the Writer's Digest emails, but half the time I ignore them.

Jemi Fraser said...

I like that - good way to remember - thanks :)

Tess said...

yes, sir!

plus, it rhymes. how cute is that?

I could write an article summarizing my past week and call it "the slob, the blob and the girl who is eating too much Ben and Jerry's".

Lady Glamis said...

I always try to come up with loglines for my stories so I can better understand what I'm after in the story.

Scott said...

Stina – you’re welcome. I’ve been known to ignore the emails, and quite often at that, but every now and then I scroll through them and find gems of information.

Jemi – you’re welcome. It is a good way to remember the main things needed for a query.

Tess – rhyming is a good thing. I think we remember rhymes easier than other things. I mean, heck, I can pretty much quote “Green Eggs and Ham” because of the rhymes. I love that book. I love Ben and Jerry’s. We have a store within walking distance of our office. OMG! Did I mention Starbuck’s is within walking distance too? It’s a good thing I walk to go to both those places. Ha.

Lady Glamis – I sometimes come up with a logline early on, but most times, well, no! I’m backwards like that . . . most of the time. Ha.

Laurence MacNaughton, Author said...

That's awesome. It belongs right up there with Save The Cat!

Green Monkey said...

I like it and it makes sense - will Read, Learn Do... THANKS for the info