Well, the previous post about snaffling an agent of your very own was so hugely popular that I thought I’d share more of my wisdom with those writers canny enough to recognise a goldmine of information when they see it.
And I promise you, you won’t find this advice anywhere else. It’s exclusive to my blog.
I’m not sure why I don’t have agents brawling in the streets for the honour of representing me – but believe me, it will happen!
Try these sure-fire winning tips:
- Those companies who still accept paper submissions request you dont staple or bind your MS, but I say rubbish! Wouldn’t you hate it if the klutzes at the agency or publishing house lose a page of your work? Of course you would! You wouldn’t want your pages mixed up with those of an inferior writer, now would you? So, don’t risk loose leaves, – get it bound!
- Spelling errors are really not a query killer. You’re the writer, the creative force! Those nit-picky editors can deal with trivia like spelling, grammar and general sentence cohesion. And plot structure. Actually, a few clever phonetically spelt words might elicit a chuckle from the agent. That’ll make your work stand out! Which is what you’re aiming for.
- Throw a few profanities around your query to demonstrate just how freakin’ edgy and unconventional you are.
- When it comes to categorizing your novel, be generous. You know that your masterpiece is just too broad to be pigeon-holed. You are being accurate when you describe it as a Fantasy-Women’s Fiction-Self Help-Comedy-Thriller. If the agent gets fed-up and asks “Where would I find it if it was in a bookstore?” the answer is simple: on all five shelves. Duh!
- Chances are that the query will be read by a wet-behind-the-ears trainee (sometimes known as an intern or assistant). A brainless sap too gormless to know a good read when they see it. You need to be forceful here, and establish your dominance over them right away. Having the person whose duties include collecting the dry-cleaning read a query may be good enough for the cookie-cutter authors, but you need the actual decision maker to look over your query. Try phoning the company and say this in your best dog training voice: “Hey, you. Assistant bitch. Stop reading this straight away, and pass it to someone who knows what they’re doing. That’s your boss, moron. Go on, move it.”
- It’s a fact that gorgeous people get better treatment than the aesthetically challenged. (Actually, I’m being serious at this point. Multiple studies in social psychology have shown that people assume that a good-looking person is more honest, enthusiastic, intelligent and hard-working than a slob with a face like a baboon’s rear end – and treat them accordingly). The clever writer will apply this information to their advantage. I suggest including a glamour shot of yourself on the query email or letter. It won’t matter that the shot is 20 years out of date. Or that your email will take ages to download with those few extra MBs of data. Remember - the job of the query is to get those agents biting your bait like piranhas. Make yourself so damned attractive that the agent will be smitten. Then they won’t give a crap about what the book’s about. They’ll just want to represent you.
- Actually, you could go one step further and email an audio file yourself reading your query aloud in your best bedroom voice. Husky, make it husky. Throw in a few double entendres, and voila! You’ll have an agent eating out of your hand. (NB, this works even better when querying for a children’s or Christian manuscript).
When all else fails, have a look at what this guy did: (http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2007/03/nitwit-of-day.html .
He’s the master query writer, and I take my hat off to him.