The truth is; we all want (at least) one of these to be ours. Query letters to agents, editors, and publishers are the means to our desired end. So how can we make our query letters catch someone’s eye. First, we have to look at the rejections we have received and ourselves some serious questions:
Check out the links to my Wadmates, Susan and Amy’s blogs for what they have learned about queries in the past week.
My analysis of my (query) entry in Joanna Stampfel-Volpe’s contest follows each question…
Did I target right person to submit it to? No, I treated this like it was a contest.
• Did I do enough research? Answered…I should have known what she was looking for.
• Did I critique my query like it was a manuscript? Did I check for adverbs, that's, be verbs…Umm, well you can see I didn’t.
• Did I study interviews of the recipient and found out his or her likes and dislikes in a query? Answered.
• Am I aware of what is going on in the market? Thanks to a Skype interview with Agent Mark McVeigh, I feel aware of what is going on in the market. That was why I didn’t query a folktale or a picture book manuscript. Link one and two will get you to my interview with Mark.
Was it the best letter it could be? At that moment, I thought it was. In retrospect, I should have considered who I was sending it to. I was thinking about using the book in the classroom, not how am I going to hook her and get her to want to read the manuscript.
• Did I have a hook? I thought I did, but not so much…I was thinking of how I would use it as a teacher.
• Did I ramble? I don’t think so.
• Did I keep it under 300 words? Yes.
• Did I follow their guidelines? Yes. I reread the rules of the contest before I hit send.
• Was it tailored to their taste? No, foolishly, I considered this a contest rather than a query letter.
On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 12:01 PM
Dear Ms. Stampfel-Volpe,
I appreciate the opportunity enter your Query Contest –I can handle the truth.
BORROW, BEG AND EARN is a beginning chapter book that reflects our society’s current obsession with living beyond our means at any. It incorporates math and personal responsibility on the level that would be appropriate for a second or third grader. (See what I mean about how I would use it in the classroom...)
8 (Should I have spelled out his age?) year old David desperately (adverb) wants a pair of Ninja Heelys. The problem is; he’ll have to save the money for them. David thinks this will be impossible, but Mom’s willing to pay him for doing chores. The first day of vacation arrives and he borrows money from three people. David gets into a cycle of borrowing and spending. When he hits rock bottom, his family and friends seem to pull away from him. By the end of the summer David has figured out how to live within his means, pay everyone back, reclaim his best friend, buy the Ninja Heelys, and learned to save. (Did I ramble? Characters? Plot? Resolution?)
I have a B.S. in Elementary Education and taught elementary school for seventeen years. I am a SCBWI member and a Highlights Foundation Summer Workshop at Chautauqua alumni. (Didn't include my magazine publication ecause it wasn't relevant to submission.)
Thank you for your time (Thanks in advance...) and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
http://skmayhew.blogspot.com/ (Showed a little of my platform, in case she was interested.)
I don't really fall in love with the pushing-the-moral type chapter books.
Pass for me, but thanks for participating,
Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR REJECTIONS? Please share…