Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Making Your Own Querying Luck

Sorry I'm late! I was celebrating the cover reveal (which I designed!) of my friend's book, A SPY LIKE ME by Laura Pauling. I can hardly wait to read it! On to today's post...

If you've had a novel out on submission for a while and haven't got any bites then it's probably time to take a closer look at it and re-evaluate it. Chances are it could just be a matter of timing and there may be nothing wrong with it. But it doesn't hurt to make sure. Here are a few tips that might help.

Polish: There are many reasons agents may not be warming up to your novel. Have you polished it as much as possible? Agents get thousands of submissions every month so your novel must shine in every way it can. They may not be willing to take on an author who's work is full of grammar issues.

Originality: Is the main theme of your novel a trending one? Does it contain an element that is currently clogging bookshelves? Though it makes sense that consumers will buy more of what they like, agents and editors are always looking to the future, not the present. If you've written a novel that is about vampires for example, it has to be very original and outstanding to get anyone's attention. It isn't enough to just write a good novel any more.

Intrigue: A certain level of mystery must be present to keep the reader turning pages. That's not to say you have to write a mystery, not at all. But you do have to keep the reader wanting to know what is going to happen next. If your plot is too predictable they won't care. Throw in those plot twists and surprises to keep them guessing and keep their interest piqued.

Pacing: How is your pacing? Does it rise and fall in a manner that keeps the reader interested and yet doesn't overwhelm them? Pacing is vital!

Querying: What is your querying process like? Do you send out dozens and dozens of queries that are almost identical and scarcely personalized? This is called blanket querying. Don't do it. If you want to have any chance in the query wars you have to educate yourself and approach the process with the caution and respect it deserves.

It's true that luck plays a huge part in landing an agent and getting a book deal. But if you follow these tips then you can make a bit of your own luck and hopefully tip the scales in your favor.



  1. I think I also read about "A Spy like Me" elsewhere and found it intriguing. Something about the title grabs. Anyway, I checked on Kindle and neither the book's title nor the author came up. Guess I'm a bit early. Will check again later.

    Thanks for these great tips.

    1. Yeah you're just a little bit early. You'll find it on Goodreads but not on Amazon or B&N yet. Soon, very soon!

  2. Congrats on the upcoming release, Laura, and on the cover, Heather! It looks great.
    Querying. . . ahhh, yes. For 99.99% of us, it takes TIME and PATIENCE to do all those things you mentioned, the right way, to get the best result we can get. These are all excellent pieces of advice. Thanks!

    1. And patience is often the hardest thing for us writers. I know it certainly is for me! LOL!

  3. Wow! So much work for querying. And... to get all that into a page. But if you can...then they know you can write!
    Thanks for a great post. And... congratulations on the cover and the new release!!!! Yeah!

    1. A lot of work indeed! I don't miss it, that's for sure. And my heart goes out to those authors who are still querying.