Monday, July 12, 2010

The Hook

As everyone knows by now, I finished the final, pre-query edits on Saturday. Woo-hoo for me!

But, there is no rest for the wicked . . . or at least that's what I've been told. Not that I'm wicked. I truly am a very nice person. Seriously!

Next step: The Query! Boo-Hiss! Okay, it's not that bad, but, I've been on a snarky roll for a while and . . .

The Query is a work of art that showcases the brilliance of, say, a 93,484 word novel in a single page. Talk about Reader's Digest condensed version! Geesh! So, in maybe 250 words, I need to somehow grab an agents attention so much so that they immediately pick up the phone and call me.

This is possible. Writers everywhere have been doing this for, like, well, forever!

So, I too shall do this and succeed along with the best of them.

There are a ton of blogs out there about how to query. One of my main resources is From the Query to the Call by Elana Johnson. You can get the e-book right here! This is a fantastic book with lots of links. Elana's pretty much the Query Ninja! She has an agent. One of the followers of my blog, using this wonderful e-book, got an agent.

Elana mentions that a hook is a necessary, in her opinion, part of the query. What is a hook? Well, go get Elana's e-book here and you can find out for yourself. Kidding, people.

A hook, in one sentence, sums up the book. The hook, in many ways, is the elevator pitch. The one sentence you need to have ready at all times in case you get stuck in an elevator with your dream agent.

Yeah, the hook, like many things, is easier said than done! Elana's e-book provides plenty of examples. The New York Times Best Seller List provides many examples.

So, the first part, at least for me, of designing my brilliant query is to come up with a hook. I read a ton of query examples - provided by Elana, of course - yesterday and looked for the hook. I focused solely on the hooks in these queries and thought about my own. I finally narrowed down a general idea. No, nothing final yet, but a general idea. That's a start. Once I get the hook down, I'll move on to the next step of the query, and the next, and so on.

This isn't, at least not for me, a sit down, write a letter and send it off process. I'm deconstructing the query writing process into little steps, puzzle pieces, so to speak, that will all add up to the final piece of brilliance that will WOW agents everywhere. Yeah, my own little delusional world is quite a nifty place to be at times! Ha!

So this week, my evening writing time, will be all about crafting my query. Luckily, the wine rack is stocked. I'm just saying . . .



Elana Johnson said...

Awesome on your edits! I know you can nail the query, and not just because you have my ebook, but because you're awesome!!

Oh, and let me know if you need a set of eyes to look at that bad boy.

Happily Cheesy said...

I never use all 250 words of a query. Short and snappy grabs attention, right?

In script writing what you're referring to is called the "log line", and you can be the most brilliant writer on the face of the planet, but if you don't have a catchy log line, you may as well burn the query/pitch as well as send it.

Good luck!

Scott said...

Elana – thanks! Your book is a huge help and you can count on me needing a set of eyes once I finish my query. : )

Happily Cheesy – you’re right: ‘short and snappy grabs attention’. Now, just to come up with something short and snappy to grab an agent’s attention. : )

VR Barkowski said...

I presently have 3432 versions of my query (ok, maybe not, but close). I will never write between genres again because I can't give the hook a spin that isn't misleading. Live and learn. :)

I agree, Elana's ebook *is* awesome.

Scott said...

VR - we have about the same number of queries. I've changed this one a number of times. Elana's ebook has helped a lot. I've pretty much written the query - well, at least this version - and now need to fine tune it a bit. It's all about the baby steps. : )