Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

BIG SUR: What I Learned Part 2: QUERY LETTERS

 The Big Sur Writer's Retreat with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency is one of my all time favorite  retreats. Not only have I learned a ton about writing first sentences, first chapters and the first 50, but I've made some life long writer friends. 

I suggest that all of you reading this check it out for this year. There is a March and December retreat. Here is the link: | Upcoming workshops are Dec. 6-8, 2013 in Big Sur & March 7-9, 2014 in Seaside, CA – Click on Register page!





Laura Rennert is of course one of my favorite agents at Andrea Brown, not only because I interned for her but because she knows her stuff. She's signed amazing authors and helped launch newbie careers. Oh what I wouldn't give to be the next one in that category!!!


At Big Sur she talked to us about query letters and what should be included in them. Below are my notes on that conversation.


Laura: Query Letters / Reverse Engineer

3 components: you are unknown to us so give a little context

1st Section

  • category & market
  • this book is in the same space as
  • compare to other projects

2nd Section
  • who, what, where & why should I care?
  • character must come through in the query
  • context…world…where the story is unfolding
  • 1-2 sentences to convey the arc & stakes
  • why should I care? what makes this project special?

3rd Section
  • context about yourself
  • social media
  • authenticity
  • why could only you write this story?



So there you have it from the horses mouth to your eyes and hopefully into your query letter. 



Some of you are in the same boat as me --- getting ready to query. I hope you understand that the query letter is your handshake. It should not be moist, or sweaty, not hairy or sticky, not too hard like a gorilla or too light like a butterfly - it should be just right. It should convey that you are a master of your craft, of your story, of yourself. You are marketable and strong, but willing to show your sensitive underbelly in your writing. That you take this seriously and you know it's a business, not just an art form. 



If you can do this, get your handshake down right, you've got the best shot at getting that agent to read your first page.




Good Luck!
Write~on
Angie

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