Maybe your query letter isn’t on your wall, but wouldn’t it look nice in a gold frame if it hooked your dream agent?
I know, I know, I know. Writers hate query letters almost as much as they hate the dreaded synopsis, but both are necessary evils in this business. However, writing a query letter doesn’t have to be painful. I can help.
I’m going to critique four query letters on my blog. Unlike my other blog critiques, where I simply place your piece in queue, I’m going to select four queries from those that are submitted.
Are you ready to work? Writing a query letter isn’t easy even with the help of an editor. I’m still going to make you write the darn thing. That’s the best way for you to showcase your voice in the query. If someone else writes it for you and the agent or editor falls in love with the voice in the query, they may be disappointed when they read your work because the voice won’t be the same. It’s all about expectations. Agents and editors expect to see a hint of the author’s voice in the query letter.
What do you have to do? When you send in your query, I also want the GMCs (goals, motivations, and conflicts) of your main characters. I’m expecting to see the GMCs of two to three characters depending on the genre you write. Ex. There should be GMCs for the protagonist and antagonist for general fiction. The hero, heroine, and villain should all have GMCs for romantic suspense. These are just examples. I’ll accept queries for all fiction genres. Along with that, I’d like one or two sentences describing those characters. I don’t want to know what they look like or what they wear. I want to know them. Ex. Jo is a desperate mother who longs to find her abducted baby. She’ll do anything, even break the law, to get him back.
Man, oh, man. Am I demanding or what? I’m asking you to do this because that information will help me get a better understanding of your story and what should be included in your query. If you send in your query and other information, you’re giving me permission to post it on my blog.
And… There’s one last thing. You’re also agreeing to rework the query, keeping my critique in mind, and resubmitting it. I’ll then take my red pen to the revised query and post a before and after on my blog.
I can’t help it. I’ll always be a teacher at heart. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to critique everyone’s queries, but I still want my readers to learn from the experience, even if the critique is for someone else.
Why should you go through all this work when I’m only choosing four queries to critique? Depending on how many submissions I receive, I’d like to give everyone a single comment about their query and how they can improve it. To be clear, this would only be one sentence long and I’d only do this for everyone if I don’t have too many queries to go through. Otherwise, I’ll pick several names out of a hat and send those people a comment about their query. If you’re looking for someone to stroke your ego, you’re asking the wrong woman. I believe in being honest and respectful because that’s what’s going to help you improve. Telling you the query’s great, when it really needs work might make you feel better, but it won’t help you sell your story, which is what you really want, right?
In case your eyes glazed over while reading this long post, here’s what you have to submit:
-one query letter (the whole thing minus the addresses, not just the blurb)
-GMCs of all major characters
-1-2 sentences describing those characters.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, November 12, 2010. Please send everything in the body of an email. I won’t open anything with attachments. Put “Query Crit” in the subject line, so I know it’s not spam. My email address is: lynnette_labelle at hotmail dot com. Make sure you spell my name correctly or your message won’t get to me.
Please note: I’m only accepting one query letter per person. Thanks.
What are you waiting for? Get to work! :)