3 S.R. Johannes: Mardi Gras 411/Elana Johnson on Querying

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mardi Gras 411/Elana Johnson on Querying

411 on Marketing Mardi Gras

As you know, next week (Feb 15 - Feb 19) is my Marketing Mardi Gras Party. The party will last all week long and include many special guests, daily prizes, a Marketing Scavenger Hunt, and 2 Grand Prizes awarded at the end of the week.
1) A Marketing Package for agented authors
2) My Agent's Critique Package (Alyssa Henkin at Trident Media group) for unagented authors.

Sound fun or what!?

Now, Elana Johnson (The Query Master) and I are throwing this PAR-Tee together. She will be having tons of prizes as well including additional agent query critiques.

The thing is to enter this Mardi Gras Party - you really need to follow us BOTH.

So go ahead and sign up for both blogs today and get a head start.

What do you have to lose? We give great advice, we are fun, and we give 30 day guarantees if you don't laugh at least once. Plus let's face it - the prizes are awesome! (if i do say so myself :)

All details on the party will be announced TOMORROW so come back!

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Today, Elana stopped by today to tell us the Five Things To Avoid When Querying
(On her blog today she asked me about how to balance Social networking with Writing. GO check it out!)

Querying can be a long and tiring process. Writing a query letter can feel the same way. And since your letter is what you use to query, here are a few hints for what to avoid when getting ready to enter the query trenches.

1. Querying too early. Write your query letter. Revise it a few times. Post it for others to review. Rewrite it a few more times. This same advice should be applied to your manuscript. Write it. Revise a few times. Give it to some trusted readers. Rewrite some more. Don’t query until both your letter and your MS have gone through this process.

2. Sending mass queries. You need to personalize. Research each agent. QueryTracker.net has all the pertinent links you need for every reputable agent. And stats for how long they take to respond, how often they request, etc. Make sure you spell the agent’s name right. Be sure they’d be a good match for your work. Mass querying is bad for everyone.

3. Gushing. The query letter is a business letter. Treat it as such. It’s okay to say you read something on their blog/twitter/website that made you think they’d be a good match for your book. Don’t gush about how amazingly awesome they are or that you like their cat or whatever. That just screams “stalker!” and that’s not really how you want to start your professional relationship.

4. Blathering on and on. We all want to make ourselves personable. But as I said before, the query letter is a business letter. State your business and be done. They don’t need to know how many kids you have or anything like that. They want to know if you can craft a concise summary of your book. Because usually, that means you know how to use words well, and your MS won’t be stuffed with useless words. If your query is, agents likely think your MS is too.

5. Sending repeatedly. Follow the rules. If an agency says a “no” from one is a “no” from all, don’t try someone else at the agency. Don’t send your query letter to the same agent over and over again. If they say no, they mean it.

Get that query polished to a high shine, coat your nerves in steel and sit back and wait for the requests to come rolling in!

See you back here tomorrow for the Pre-Party!

28 comments:

Nisa said...

You both are fun and informative. Lots of awesome floating around your blogs! ;)

Do we get to wear masks, beads and parade around in the streets? *grin*

Elana, your advice is always so good. I'm so grateful. I need all the query advice I can get!

Christina Lee said...

good stuff here!! :):)

Kayeleen said...

Elana's blog and yours are two that I look forward to every morning. It's so exciting that you are working together on things next week. It's like the double mint twins... Double your excitement. Double your fun.

Kelly said...

Woo hoo! Great tips!

Bish Denham said...

I am busy clicking between the two of you....reading, reading, reading.

Kristi said...

You and Elana both rock -- sorry, that probably qualifies as gushing. :) Can't wait for next week!

Tere Kirkland said...

Great advice from the Query Ninja herself!

Thanks, Shelli.

Corey Schwartz said...

I'll be back! Sounds super fun. And you know how much I need that marketing package!

Scott said...

In the words of my partner, every time I head out of town . . . party! party! party!

S

Melissa Sarno said...

Thanks for this great advice. I am looking forward to your party! Are there forums to post your query for feedback?

Sara McClung ♥ said...

Here's a query question: I get not sending a query over and over to the same agent. But what about when you're ready to query a new novel? Is it a faux pas to send that query to an agent who's already passed on a different project?

I haven't started querying yet, but I'm still curious!

Thanks :-)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

We have to follow you BOTH?! Not a problem. Where would the writing bloggers of the world be without the two of you? :-)

P.S. Elana, I did not see this until AFTER I emailed my favor request - I swear! :-)

Shelli said...

melissa - look on the verla kay discussion boards for beta readers.

Sara - you can query the same agent with new queries. Just be sure some time has passed. If they had something nice to say about your last project, mention it.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the really practical advice Elana. Can't wait to hear about the party tomorrow.

Patti said...

Great querying advice, so excited for the contest and I already follow both of you.

Janet Johnson said...

You're both awesome! And thanks for the verla kay discussion boards tip. Good to know!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Can't wait for the party! Do I need to bring anything? :D

Ryan said...

I have begun the query process for the second time just this week. And, I've found that the one guaranteed way for me to not want to write is after getting a rejection. But, I also know that the best way to keep from being dragged under by the madness of querying is by working on the next project.

Btw, can't wait for the party.

Jemi Fraser said...

You two both always have such great advice!!! Thanks :)

Sara McClung ♥ said...

Shelli, thanks for your answer!

lisanowak said...

Great advice, but then Elana always has great advice. :)

B.J. Anderson said...

Great advice as always, Elana. :D

Alli said...

I only just discovered this blog - and I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone at the party! :-)

Rebecca Knight said...

*tosses query mardi beads at Elana*

Thanks for the great advice, and party on! :D

Stephanie McGee said...

Looking forward to both contests!

Great blog!

Sarah said...

Thanks for doing this! I'm looking forward to it all. :)

Sharon Mayhew said...

I sent out a few queries last week. I think I did a good job...following the advice I have read on agent blogs and other writer's blogs. So far two rejections: one came with a suggestion of an editor to send my ms to and the other already had a similar story on his just signed list. :) Next week is a new week...

Shari said...

I'm so glad to have found your blog. Excellent information. Thanks.