So I was fortunate enough to get attend an event recently with a few agents, and took the opportunity to chat with them about the blog, what I do here on Ask Allison, and ask them if they wouldn't mind submitting a few tips on querying. I know that often times, landing an agent can be among the hardest barrier to break in this industry, so today, here are a few dos and don'ts, straight from the horses' mouths. I'm following up on email with a few of them for more tips, in terms of client relationships, so stay tuned.
-DO your homework. Know who you are querying and why you think you might be a good fit with said agent.
-DON'T address me as Sir or Madam or Novel Agent as I will delete you without reading further.
-DO refer to other books I've done and say you loved it even if you didn't. Flattery will get you far.
-DON'T refer to a book that you read about on Publisher's Marketplace that you loved that I just sold and won't be pubbed for a year! (This happens a lot too. Take the added step of checking Amazon for a pub date.)
-DON'T query agents exclusively. It doesn't benefit you in anyway. Go ten at a time and let the agent know it is a multiple submission. When you get an offer, email those of us that have it and let us know. We have a a lot to read and probably just didn't get to it.
-DON'T accept representation from another agent while other agents are reading. Our reading time is precious.
-DON'T attach a manuscript unsolicited, and DO spellcheck (and grammar-check) your query letters. Why should I take you on if you can't get your letter right?
-DO keep it to one page or a few paragraphs. If you can't sum up your book and your bio in a page, you need to learn to self-edit.
So there you have it. Anyone have his/her own tips for querying?