Friday Forum: Queries 101

When our heroine tentatively approached twitter, dear Reader, two manuscripts at her  back, she had no idea what she was doing.

In fact, I had no idea why I was approaching twitter. Seriously. Had never heard of an author’s platform, wasn’t looking to network within social media, knew nothing. Scary, eh? I’m no expert now. I’m still researching these topics I bring you on the Friday Forum and sifting through the links I find to give you the ones I think are useful.

I remind myself of these things often lately. Actually, a good friend is instrumental in my doing so. He recently came to the twitter writing hashtags with the same bright-eyed innocence I had. The other day, he was full of questions after an #askagent by @ColleenLindsay (thanks!) in which she said, “No query questions!” First question: What’s a query?

Ohmygoodness. Yes, I remember wondering, too. I also recognized that while I had a reasonably good idea what one was, I was in no way prepared to write one. So here we go.

We begin at BookEnds, LLC – A Literary Agency‘s blog for their article Definition of a Query for obvious reasons. While it’s not an exhaustive look at the subject, it does give an idea of what would be considered a query.

There’s an article at There Are No Rules by the amazing Jane Friedman titled 5 Elements of a Query Letter that I recommend highly. Not only is this article informative, it has a collection of links you’ll want to follow. You’ll likely bookmark several. (I did.) This is a blog to watch.

Bubblecow has an article by Gary Smailes called 3 Ways to Improve Your Query Letter. It’s a concise look at queries and basic ways to improve them. Do take a look, it’s worth it.

There is, of course, Query Etiquette. Rachelle Gardner‘s article in her blog Rants and Ramblings: On Life as a Literary Agent posted an article titled Querying Multiple Agents. You’ll definitely want to take a look at this one. Even if you’re testing the waters by just sending one, get the low down on query etiquette.

Now that we’ve brought up the idea of querying multiple agents, we bring up the idea of keeping track of them all. Let me emphasize here: I have not tested these. I’m only posting this one link as an example of what’s out there. Get some recommendations from friends, ratings from trusted sources and find out what works for you.

QueryTracker is a free database of literary agents and it tracks queries to multiple agents. Seems pretty handy-dandy when it comes to that sort of thing. Any Readers want to recommend something else? Please do! Leave a comment, I’d love to take a closer look into it.

Here’s an article I love. Johanna Harness has written an article titled Seven Things I’ve Learned from Querying. So worth the time to read! You’ll learn the lessons, too. Her writing style is delightful, so you’ll even enjoy the process of learning them. Of course, nothing says you won’t have to learn them the hard way yourself, but at least you’ll be forewarned.

So that’s a general look at queries. There were so so so many articles, really good ones, that I skipped in order to have some flow, to go step by step in my look at queries for you. Take a look around. If you’re on twitter, follow URL’s that are posted about queries. (If you’re not on twitter, why not? Seriously.)

I’d love to get your feedback, positive and negative. In the meantime, I wish you a good week and good writing.


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6 thoughts on “Friday Forum: Queries 101

  1. RKCharron September 26, 2009 at 11:05 am Reply

    Hi 🙂
    Thanks for the great post and taking the time to put the links in it.
    I haven’t reached the point of sending queries out yet. I am finishing my novel first. I’ve bookmarked this post though, so when the time comes I’ll have the information I need.
    Thanks again for sharing,
    All the best,


    • Jessica Rosen September 30, 2009 at 4:25 am Reply

      It’s always good to see you here. My understanding is that it’s vital to have that novel in tip-top shape before you start shopping it around, so you’re right on track. I’ve got a couple novels written, but each requires thorough editing before it’s ready to show off. I’m glad this post was helpful enough for you to keep hold of it for the future. Let me know how it goes with the novel!

      Take care,
      Jessica Rosen


  2. […] Friday Forum: Queries 101 Jessica Rosen’s focused Friday link love forum, this week it is all about queries. Here is a little secret about Jess Rosen; today she came out of hospital determined to get her Friday Forum up for just you. Isn’t that just astounding? You can follow this gutsy lady on Twitter with this link, @JessrosenBooks. […]


  3. J. Martin September 29, 2009 at 12:39 am Reply

    You are a lovely person for sharing this post. May the Query Fairy Bless You!


    • Jessica Rosen September 30, 2009 at 4:27 am Reply

      Wait a minute – there’s a Query Fairy? Shoot, I should have included a link about that! Thanks so much for your comment, it’s appreciated.

      Take care,
      Jessica Rosen


  4. Bill Bartmann October 9, 2009 at 7:48 pm Reply

    Hey, great blog…but I don’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please 🙂


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