{Between the Lines}

The Agents of Books & Such Literary Management Muse About Books, Publishing, and Life

Avoid These Lines in Your Query Letter

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

I was going through my current batch of query letters, and while many of them are very good, it reminded me how difficult it is to write a strong pitch. You have to accomplish so many things in a concise format: introduce your book in a way that the agent wants to read it; give just enough information about yourself to be helpful; convey a bit of your personality; avoid query landmines and clichés.

I understand it’s not easy. I never reject writers for making one silly mistake in a query — I sincerely assess whether the book being pitched looks interesting to me. But as I was going through my current batch, I found most of the same kinds of “sigh worthy” lines that I’ve been seeing for years. Try not to say things like this:

• I’m certain this memoir will be a huge success!

• My book will make readers laugh out loud.

• All those other Christian books are getting it wrong – but my book gets it right.

• I have published five books with PublishAmerica, all of which have been listed on Amazon.

• I  am writing a fiction novel.

• Have you ever wondered…?

• Several agents have already passed on my book, but had positive things to say. Here are excerpts about my book from three other agents’ emails.

What is the hardest thing about writing a query letter? Have you made these (or other) mistakes?


Dead Giveaways

Wendy Lawton

Blogger: Wendy Lawton

Many a time I’ve been in on a discussion with agents or editors when they mention that something was a dead giveaway that the author was a newbie. Now there’s nothing wrong with being new to something …

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Fun with Words

Cynthia Ruchti

Blogger: Cynthia Ruchti

Words can be fun.

Overheard in many a Panera/Starbucks/home office:

“What are you doing over there?”

“Having fun with words. I’m a writer.”fun with words

Serious writers are often…well…serious.

Intense research. Deadlines. Reading books on the craft of writing. …

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