5 Reasons for “Quick Pass” on a Query Letter

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

Agents do inhale query letters. We get 1,000’s a year and go through them periodically; usually consuming them in batches of 20-100’s at a time. I try to read them once or twice a month.

Your query letter is my first encounter with you. It doesn’t have to be “perfect” (I mean that!), but it does have to convince me why I need to read your writing, get lost in your voice, and why this particular story matters more than the others.

Your query letter is the first opportunity toengage me and showme how you’re a storyteller no matter the medium. Storytellers can write a novel and explain it in a few paragraphs–they have to.

FIVE REASONS FOR A QUICK PASS:

  1. Novel that’s under 70k or over 110k. Storytellers know how long it takes to tell a story and a novel-length project requires a certain depth of story.
  2. Wordy descriptions…

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In a Perfect Word Editing

My name is Erin Beth Liles, and I have several years of editing experience. Aside from my bachelor's degree, I have a certificate in copyediting from UC San Diego, and I have studied developmental editing with the Author-Editor Clinic. I've worked with both independent and major publishing houses, but my true love is working directly with authors. I also write young adult fiction. My YA novel, Phoenix Burning, is represented by Mansion Street Literary (and I have another novel in progress) and my short stories have been published in Stories for Children Magazine and Knowonder. Several of my nonfiction articles have appeared in Austin Family Magazine, Mothering Magazine online, and Mamapedia. I also have a picture book forthcoming with Guardian Angel Publishing. My novelette, Outside the Walls, is featured in Clean Teen Publishing's Wonderstruck Anthology. I am a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Copyediting, and She Writes.

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