Friday Links: Query Letters

In the past few months I’ve written a handful of query letters for the handful of novels I have that I’m ready to submit. I struggle mightily each time I try and condense my novel into two paragraphs that still reflects my voice & story. I always somehow come away from the query letter thinking I’ve taken all the personality out of my manuscript.

So, when I saw a bunch of tweets about Pitch University’s PitchFest, I decided to partake. There were quite a few agents, but I’m focusing on the two that represent romance.

This post interviews Jessica Alvarez, an agent with BookEnds. After the interview she gives feedback on some participating queries (and video pitches as well). I think this is extremely helpful even if you aren’t the query writer. You can see an agent’s thought process when reading a query both in general and in terms of a particular agent. (For example, Ms. Alvarez talks about personally not enjoying stories with characters in the food industry).

This post is with Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency. Same set up as Ms. Alvarez’s post with both query & video pitch feedback (and yes, you will see my query as one). Ms. Bent’s feedback isn’t quite as generally helpful unless you are the query writer, but you can get a glimpse into some of her preferences she has if she was an agent you were interested in. Ms. Bent also answered questions in the comments of this post for a select period of time. The comments do have some interesting information about agent things as well as some publishing thing. (For instance, Ms. Bent gives her definition of “high concept”).

I think it was great that these agents offered their time and expertise to help us writers still trying to make the mark. From both the interviews & the feedback, I definitely learned some things I will apply both to querying and finding an agent in general. It also made me think about not just *getting* an agent, but also about what some of the ideas/approaches I would like my agent to have.

2 thoughts on “Friday Links: Query Letters

  1. I met Jenny Bent in Atlanta last October. She’s very matter-of-fact, fun and approachable… not to mention just all around adorable. Common sense and fashion sense in one package… I liked her. : )

    • That sounds awesome, Tina! I’m impressed with any agent who takes the time to do something like this, especially considering how many queries they must get in a day!

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