Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cough Up the Query...

So Nathan Bransford is doing a little experiment on his blog. Okay, maybe not little... But it is interesting.

Hop on over and read it, otherwise I will just give you the quick low-down. Here is the opening from his blog:

"On Thursday we discussed the query process and whether or not queries adequately reflect a underlying work's quality. Can someone really make an assessment of a book project based on a query? Really really?"

Interesting question!!! And very interesting experiment at the moment, too. I've participated. I sent in my query (badly, I admit. I didn't even begin it with "Dear XXX" nor did I close it! ::blushes::) as well as my first 30 pages. Nathan told us, "Act like an agent" and then we voted on the 5 queries he picked.

Wow. I have to say that I read all five queries and the one that seemed the most "cliche" to me won out. I chose the one that didn't. By the way, the genre was YA Fantasy. Now... I LOVE fantasy and enjoy YA Fantasy as well. Duh. But I don't like cliches. I hope I haven't fell into one inadvertently.

Don't get me wrong, each query, to me at least, seemed strong. They each had their weaknesses and strengths, some seemed sort of dry. But they were good! Perhaps I let my dislike for cliches jade my opinion, but I didn't think so. So I waited until today to see if we could truly find a gem by query alone. Now, personally, if I were an agent, I would have asked for a partial from each of those queries. But I'm a sucker that way.

Today I read the first 30 pages sent by each of those authors of the queries. Surprise, surprise, the query I chose certainly did not live up to my expectations. I could barely get through the first few paragraphs of all 5. Only one stuck out to me and it wasn't the one I chose or the one I thought to be cliche, even. Completely different! Most everyone else chose the pages of the query that won out. Sorry, but typos really affect my reading. Someone commented that the last lines of the pages from the query that "won" were great. I didn't make it that far.

However, I am going to go back and read all of the pages from each entrant, to see if my choice still stands out.

Now I know just HOW important a query is to catch someone's attention. I tweaked my own just a bit, but now I feel like I have to change the opening of my book. Seriously, I wonder if perhaps people would feel that my opening pages would be dry, dull and dusty. Maybe not the first 30 pages, but the first couple of paragraphs at the very least. You've all seen my snippet. That is my opening chapter. What do you think? Perhaps tomorrow I will post my query letter for you to all rip apart. ;) What do you say?

Have a good rest of the week!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I picked the cliched one. lol. But, there was a reason. I was looking at the queries more with an eye to what might sell, not what I thought was the 'best' book.

Honestly, I don't care for the genre, so none of the actual stories appealed to me. I mean, I wouldn't buy those books, but Unreality Chick had a good voice that I felt the target audience would relate to. Not only that, but the character in the story was one that I thought would strike a note with thousands of teenage girls. Based on that, I felt it was the book that would sell the most.