March 29, 2009

WRITING ADVICE: Avoiding Lin Oliver’s Wisdom Once Again and Showcasing Instead, My Great Query Blunder…

About two weeks ago, I emailed a query to a very popular agent.

It’s the second time I sent him something. The first time, I mailed a very professional, brief query. After reading the first five pages, he requested the next 30 pages – though he later “stood aside” regretfully and politely.

For the following year, I followed his column and read his advice, gleaning lots of good information from him. He was the agent I wanted to represent my work from then on. After writing a young adult novel, revising it and polishing it, I figured it was ready.

I felt like I knew this agent. I knew he had a great sense of humor, was warm, helpful and kind-hearted. I felt like we were FRIENDS because I knew so much about him.

He on the other hand, knew absolutely NOTHING about me. His profile has been hit nearly 37,000 times. He’s been quoted, his blog has won multiple awards and he has 1070 followers on eBlogger. My opening sentence must have sounded like a pick-up line to him. It sounded like I was a dear friend writing a quick note to a pal rather than what it was SUPPOSED be – a business letter between total strangers.

I learned a lesson here – the internet is NOT your friend. I mean, we warn kids about the dangers of stalkers. We throw up firewalls right and left because people are out to take our money. And yet just because I read this agent's blog, I thought I knew him. And I didn’t – and far worse, he didn’t know me from an internet stalker. The moral of the story here is, unfortunately, also one of the agent’s rules:

“Way casual…doesn’t bode well for book…”

Wanna know what I wrote? Wanna know how I may have blown a chance to be represented by this popular agent? In the interest of helping others not make the same mistake that I did, I’ll give it to you here. Please be kind…and don’t make the mistake I made. YOU make sure you write a professional query letter!

Here’s how I started it:

“Dear _______ ________,
Excepting our wives, you and I would make a perfect couple. But more on that later...”

I am so embarrassed. If this agent ever takes the chance to look at my stuff again, I will be truly blessed. If he doesn’t, I will only have gotten what I deserved.

No comments: