Barry Goldblatt, all round good guy and big time young adult lit agent (he reps such mega stars as Angela Johnson and Holly Black), explains what he wants in a query letter. It’s very clear and to the point. Useful stuff.
For those who don’t know a query letter is the letter you send to an editor or agent to say that you’ve written this very cool novel and would they like to see it.
Personally I’d rather write a novel than a query letter. Hmm, that doesn’t put it strongly enough, because I love writing novels. I’d rather eat my own eyeball than write a query letter. They’re so hard!
Especially the pitch bit. Uggh. I hate it when people ask me to describe what my books are about. I um and ah and go into too much detail or not enough. Or if Scott‘s there I get him to do it. Scott has the pitch gene, I do not. His pitch for Lord of the Rings:
Midget saves the world!
I guess you have to hear him do it . . . See? I can’t even repeat other people’s pitches without rendering them less than stellar. Sigh.
“Midget” reminds me of Ben’s preferred 9/11 narrative, Gay Rugby Player Saves White House.
Heh hem, you don’t have that quite right: gay rugby player with many Aussie friends saves white house.
The only thing worse than writing a pitch letter is writing a synopsis.
I prefer to stick with “Enclosed please find my novel. I hope you like it.” Which often is actually appropriate, but alas, not quite always.
Janni: Oh yes, synopsises (is that the right plural?) are vile. As are proposals and outlines. Actually I loathe all writing ancillary to the novel. Like writing a bio. Uggh. Why is it so hard? If only we could just write the novel and skip all that other bumpf.