Thursday, April 29, 2010
Yep, it’s that time again. This latest installment of Querying Blunders (aka: How Not to Query) comes to you from SuperAgent Holly Root of Waxman Literary Agency. For those of you who don’t know, Holly reps AW writer Jill Myles, author of the amazing UF Succubus Diaries series. (and while it’s, er, not exactly YA—*fans self*—Jill has a YA on sub right now which we know will totally rock!)
Also, check out client Serena Robar's Giving up the V and the Half-Blood Vampire series, due to be re-released this June!
Now, on to Holly's thoughts on querying no-no's:
"The hardest ones for sure are the drop-by queries. It happens more in the summer and more on Fridays; the door to the agency opens and in walks a wayward soul. "I flew all the way here from [wherever] just to bring this to you," they say, or "I was in town already and just thought I'd try," or "I'm on a layover from Taiwan." Either way, these folks show up, manuscript in hand, and are shocked when our extremely polite assistant does not immediately hand out a contract and set them up with a bag of money from Random House (often, they don't even know who we are or what exactly we do). Save your time, your money, and the cab fare in from JFK--drop-bys get you noticed but not in the good way."
(GotYA note: Wait—you mean, agents don’t have bags of money just sitting around their offices? Curses, our dreams are shattered!)
"I'd say a couple times a year someone tries the bribery road, by offering up the use of their vacation home/timeshare/frequent flyer miles or what have you, or (more frequently) offering the whole advance as commission. Boundaries, they are your friends."
(GotYA note: Although, we bet the vacation home on an island is tempting sometimes. Especially if it comes with free strawberry margaritas.)
"I also see a lot of the classic information that does not help your cause--"my daughter is a very picky reader and she thinks it's amazing;" "everyone always told me I should be a writer;" "I won the third-grade writing award;" "I think it would make a great movie." And a lot of "this book is the new Twilight/Harry Potter/etc." But honestly, I know how hard the whole query process is so while I might pass on a blunderiffic query now, there's absolutely no way I would remember that person negatively if they showed back up in my inbox, having learned a lot about querying and polished all hints of the kooky out of the letter. Every query is a new chance to do it right!"
(GotYA: We love Holly’s upbeat, positive attitude, and ditto this thought. Everyone makes mistakes when they’re first starting out! Just keep learning and plugging away, and you’ll eventually get there. We have faith in you! Also: blunderiffic might be our new favorite word.)
Thanks so much to Holly for participating, and to Jill for setting this up for us! You ladies are amazing!