Yesterday we interviewed Katherine Grace Bond, newly agented and still giddy with happiness, about recently signing with Awesome Agent Sara Crow of Harvey Klinger.
Today we hear from Sara herself about why Katherine's query stood out, and how you can make your query more interesting to the agents you hope to work with - welcome, Sara, and thank you for sharing your wisdom!
SARA CROWE: I am thrilled to be working with Katherine on her debut YA novel. I just looked back at her emailed query to attempt to pinpoint what made me request it, and noticed that she did not describe the book at all in the body of the query, which is not standard, and not usually a good idea! But she had a great opening line:
"I’m querying because you are a friend to poets (don’t worry; this isn’t a poetry collection), seem to like theatre-types, and represent the fabulous Randy Powell, who once trekked from Seattle to visit and critique my teenage writing group, even though I was too poor to even buy him a cup of coffee."
She also has a good publication history, which she included, and she did let me know that specific editors, whose tastes I admire, have read some of the book at conferences and have requested it. She kept it short and direct, and then pasted the first five pages, giving me a chance to hear Brigitta's voice, and enough of a taste to know I wanted to read more.
As to what query advice I have for YA writers: don't sell yourself or your book short by not writing a great letter that highlights what is special about your book and you. A query is your opportunity to make a connection with an agent, and is the first step in getting published. Reread it and revise until its perfect! I can point to may queries that have made me request books that did not follow the rules, and what they all have in common is that they are well written. I am not a stickler about format, though I do notice grammar and spelling mistakes, because it makes me think the writer is not serious enough about being a writer to proofread her own letter. Finally, do not make it all about the query. Make sure your first pages are polished and perfect, so that when we do request the book, we are not disappointed.
Thank you, Sara! I hope some of you out there find the agent-searching advice useful.
Sara also dishes about more agent secrets at her blog, A Crowe's Nest. Check it out!