Nov 27 2009
Janet Reid tallied up a day’s worth of queries. (A query is a letter asking an agent to represent your novel).
I’m getting impatient with writers who can’t seem to tell me what their book is about. I get lists of characters, descriptions of setting and events, but nothing about choices/conflict/decisions.
I started at 10 pm with 68 queries.
- Query letter missing too much plot: 21
- Not enticing: 12
- Nothing fresh or original: 8
- Not right for me but someone else will snag happily: 6
- Writer clearly uninformed about genre or category s/he intends to write in: 3. (B. Mac adds: a common mistake here is using the phrase “fiction novel.” Novels are ALWAYS fiction, so “fiction novel” makes the author sound uninformed).
- No platform (non-fiction queries only): 2. (A platform is a tool used to market a book or author. For example, this website. They’re only required for nonfiction authors).
- Just plain old bad writing: 4
- I don’t think I can sell books in this category: 4
- Overwritten (probably should be included in bad writing): 1
- Unable to suspend disbelief (also bad writing): 1
- Writer is a crackpot: 2. (Dammit! I wish I had known that this was a disqualifier before I started writing).
- Topics I really loathe: 2
- Queries set aside to read more closely: 2
A parting thought for you: decisions and conflicts are the intersection of character and plot. Don’t neglect them!