I’m not going to reveal the older agent’s name or house. That wouldn’t be nice. But I am going to tell you Suzie Townsend is the young one who I’ve admired since meeting her at Emerald Coast Writers’ Conference a couple years ago when she was just starting out. I had an idea she wouldn’t like my book, even after I made extensive revisions following her suggestions, for a reason I reveal below. But she was gracious enough to critique my new query for the contest to celebrate her move to Nancy Coffee Literary and Media Representation.
I could hardly believe Suzie wanted MORE information on my book. She knew I left a lot out from her previous read of my first three chapters. So after I spent weeks getting query critiques to trim my two paragraph book description down to one fitting Nathan Bransford’s 4 sentence limit, which I never reached by the way, now I can put some back. To be more specific, Suzie wanted more information about my plot in the first paragraph, and then for me to divide it into two, showing what it is about my characters or the plot to really stand out in an overcrowded genre.
Never mind that I understood boy books to be in short supply, fantasy books aren’t. So I whipped out my laptop and got to work, trying to make my query stand out. The funny thing is I ended up with a very similar query to my long version sent to the big 6 back in July. Well, almost 6. I got one rejection just from asking a question about AAR membership. That agency looked at my website and made a decision from that. If you guessed I did a lot of website work right after, you would be right.
I won’t send the new query to this young agent because she also said my sense of humor isn’t for her. If you haven’t read my short stories or visited my book website, you may not know I use a lot of wordplay and puns. Read the names on this map of the Heartland, traced over North America. Don’t judge, it’s not finished yet. The point is not everyone laughs at puns like I do.
You can bet your booties that I’ve now heard enough agents say that two paragraphs describing a book are not too long for me to decide I’m sending all the rest that way. Some just say keep your query to one page, however many paragraphs it takes. The trick is to get the right words in those paragraphs. I hope I’m getting closer.
How about you? I’d love to know what helpful rejections you received, especially if they helped you create a successful query. If you ask me, any query that received a request for a partial was successful, whether or not it sold your book.
Oops, I forgot to mention that tomorrow’s the last day to enter this month’s chocolate and book contest for followers. See that tab, second from the left, at the top of my blog? Click it to enter. Don’t be shy about asking for books not pictured. I have boxes and boxes not shown. Comments after the 10th will be entered in next month’s contest. Then come back here and blog hop to your heart’s content to this week’s book giveaways, almost 50 at the time of this writing.