Saturday, December 5, 2009

Is A Good Query Letter Really All You Need?

With all this technology zipping around (especially in the world of publishing), lately I've been wondering, is a good query letter really all you need?

Agents are constantly discussing/blogging/tweeting about the sheer volume of queries they receive. Tuesday alone Nathan Bransford received 233 queries! (And I seriously doubt it was from all those Nanoers.)

And then, I'm reminded of Debra Schubert's agent-landing story, where her agent passed her up twice (TWICE!!!) because "We get anywhere between 150-300 queries a week and sometimes it is just downright difficult to pull out what we are looking for."

That's right, they couldn't pick her query out from the masses.

I've always been under the assumption that if I wrote an excellent query letter, I'd garner some interest, but I'm not sure that's true anymore. What do you guys think? I mean, I know it's the process and there's not much I can do to change it, but do you think a good query letter is really all you need?


Valerie Geary said...

That and a heck of a lot of persistence, patience and courage.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

What Valerie said...and luck, and fairy dust, and good Karma, and....
hang in there! :)

Steph Damore said...

I'm all about the karma and persistence. Now where can I find some fairy dust? :)

DebraLSchubert said...

I think the thing is it's not just one thing that gets your foot in the door. Do you need a great, catchy query letter? Absolutely. Do you need to have a blog or website? Yup. Do you need to network? You betcha. Do you need to write the best possible book you can? Um, yeah. Do you need a bit of luck? Yes and I'm a firm believer you make your own luck.

Fairy dust? Not sure about that one. ;-)

Bane of Anubis said...

Ultimately, the query letter gets you in the door. It's the quality of the pages that lets you see the house.

As far as the blogging/website/networking... I think those are more critical post agent, but it's always good to get a head start.

Laura Martone said...

I'm with Debra on this one. Never too soon to network and create a website. But the query letter, solid ms, and luck are probably most important.

Still, I'm nervous as can be. :-(

Steph Damore said...

I agree with you all.

Catchy query letter - check (I think)
Blog - check
Website - check
Networking - check
Good book - check, check and check! (once again, my opinion!)
Luck - Well, I am Irish, so that's gotta count for something!

Thanks guys for your comments!

Steph Damore said...

Laura - are you querying? What's up with the nerves?!?

Laura Martone said...

Oh, no, Steph, I'm not querying yet. Just nervous, in general, about getting my book out there - every time I read a blog post about how difficult it is, the butterflies start.

So, imagine how crazy I'll be when I actually AM querying. LOL!