Monday, January 18, 2010

Queries, Synopses, and the Value of Proofreading

By Ali Cross

The other day I read an agent's tweet about how she wished writers would proofread their queries before they sent them out. This agent said she didn't know how many times a writer will write her a second time, saying they sent out their query with typos, so would they please delete the previous version and accept the new query instead.

It probably won't surprise you to hear this agent's response:

I actually did proofread my query and synopsis before I sent them out, however I didn't get them critiqued by very many people beforehand. After sending 36 of them, I got the verdict on my query from the Public Query Slushpile (a great place to try out your query before you send it out) and on my synopsis from my critique group.

So guess what I'm doing now? Yep, I'm rewriting both of them. But I'm okay with it. My first query and synopsis were good enough to get me two requests for partials and two for a fulls. But now I know I can do better. And I will.

During my research on agents I read a comment that said "you can never submit too late, but you can submit too early," meaning, take your time getting your submission material as perfect as you can before you begin sending them out.

You don't want to end up like those folks who realize, belatedly, that they didn't send out their best work. In your search for an agent, there are no second chances.


L.T. Elliot said...

Great advice. I'm totally going to use it. =]

Cindy (C.L.) Beck said...

Nice article. Thanks for the link to the Public Query Slushpile. Never heard of it before!