So, if you are like many of us in the aspiring-writer universe, you’ve probably been following the #PitchtoPublication twitter feed with such alacrity that you’re now tempted to self-diagnose yourself with carpal tunnel and obsessive personality disorder. Totally understandable, especially given all of the precious tidbits of feedback the participating editors have been offering in their #10queries based on their #PitchtoPublication submissions. If you haven’t been able to keep up with all of them, or are just looking for a slightly distilled version, here are the thematic tips I’ve taken away from this buffet of invaluable advice.
1) Comps, comps, comps! It is incredibly important to have up-to-date (i.e., published in the last 5 years) titles listed in your query as comparisons for the manuscript you are trying to publish. This helps agents note the marketability of your manuscript along with knowing more about your manuscript’s tone, style, and plot than you have time to address in your query. Feel free to use combos of manuscripts, since you don’t want to reproduce a previously published work. Ex: Maze-Runner meets Percy Jackson.
2) Don’t start you query with “Imagine a world. . .” Apparently, this is a cliche of a cliche of a cliche. Auto-reject for some agents, even.
3) Make sure your pronoun use is clear. Use names when you can instead of pronouns.
4) Make it clear how your book is unique. I know, I just mentioned comparable titles in #1. This is why queries are hard to write. Lots to do in very few words. If you don’t make the case for how your story is unique and contributes something special, it’ll be a pass for most/all agents.
5) Be aware of preferred word-count ranges for your genre. Don’t be too under or too over. For guidelines, check out Literary Rejections.
Want to review the #10queries from PitchtoPublication for yourself? Check out these prolific editors for a start. . .