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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Query

I started thinking about query letters, because so much has been written about them lately in very instructive fashion. Ever since I read the guideline is don’t go beyond 250 words, I began wondering what happens if I do? It takes a Lotus 123 database sheet to keep all the rejections straight for me now, so I don’t do any repeaters on the six manuscripts I have out there. Maybe adding another hundred words couldn’t hurt. I know what you’re thinking. If he can’t hook someone with 250 words, it’s not the letter, it’s the material, or his incompetent 250 words. :) I’m not so sure. Anyway, that’s beside the point. Do any of you think an agent or publisher notices instantly if an extra fifty to a hundred words were added to the stone tablet law of 250 words? Have any of you strayed from the Query Commandment? Just curious. :)

10 comments:

Jordan Summers said...

Who said a query has to be 250 words? I've never heard of that. Hmmm...

You can probably guess by now I've never paid any attention to the word count on any query. That said I do try to keep them short. (ie one page/three or four paragraphs)

Barbara Martin said...

My first query letter had too many paragraphs about the characters where I was trying too hard. It has been trimmed down to three one sentence paragraphs: word count and genre, story description and that the synopsis and manuscript are available for consideration.

As to adding extra words, I would think a writer would have to be careful to weave in those extra words so everything flowed.

Stephen Parrish said...

When it comes to queries, I believe in guidelines, not rules. My queries are as long as they need to be. I don't count the words.

BernardL said...

I appreciate your input, Jordan. The Snark's website was the first I read it on, and then many of the links she had to other writing sites reinforced the number. I should have just asked before. Maybe it was my fault for getting fixated on it.

Yea, Barbara, extra words are usually extra baggage. I need to change my approach though. I think I'm in a rut. :)

Thanks, Stephen, I think I will concentrate more on the guidelines and less on the word count.

Virginia Lady said...

I aim for somewhere around that number but I treat as more of a guideline as well, not a hard and fast number. But then, no one has accepted my work yet either, so I'm not sure I'm the best to give advice.

BernardL said...

I'm with you, VL. I find it hard to even make a comment on some blogs, because I haven't sold anything either. The 250 mark is going to be a guideline for me from now on, rather than law. :)

raine said...

Hate the rules, not good at keeping them.
Pretty much what Jordan said. I try to keep them short, to the point, get the idea and, hopefully, a bit of the voice across. I think that's what they want, not a specific word count.

BernardL said...

Thanks, Raine, I think I've gotten my wires crossed somewhere along the line. :)

Beth said...

Hey, Bernard, have you thought of having someone write a query letter for you? Not necessarily sending it out, but just getting someone else's take on your story might get you out of your "rut" (though I doubt that's really the problem. It's just hard to have patience with the publishing process).

BernardL said...

Thanks, Beth, I'm going to work on selling them with a few more words. Practice...practice...practice. :)