Don’t Put Me to Sleep!

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

Hi Rachelle,
I’m working onΒ a book proposal, and was wondering if I should interject my personality/humor into it? Or are they usually personality minus? I believe I tend to write better when I can be humorous and use my own voice. Thoughts…?
Don’t Want To Bore You


Woman bored


Dear Don’t Want,

Would YOU rather read something that was intentionally dry and boring, or something fun and funny?

What would most likely sell YOU on buying a book?

It’s CRUCIAL that queries and proposals include your personality… or at least the personality of your book. Draw me in. Make it so that I’m DYING to read your book. Don’t bore me!


Boring Agent

Does your query or proposal have some personality and life in it? Do you find this difficult?


17 Responses

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  1. I used to use a lot of broad humour when I did public speaking on various structural engineering topics. Once, after leaving the podium to applause and laughter, I lingered behind the stage-curtain, to catch the comments of the attendees as they filed out.
    “Man, that dude was FUNNY!” said a state department of transport engineer to his companion.
    “Yeah…but what was he supposed to be talkin’ about, anyhow?”

  2. I’ve considered submitting a video proposal in hopes that my personality will shine through. I just don’t want to completely turn off a literary agent by bucking the system, especially since they all have specific styles for proposals and queries. I want my confidence in my gifts to shine without seeming precocious.

    • Rachelle Gardner says:

      You can definitely include a link to a video in the text of your book proposal. In a query letter, never ask an agent to “click on a link” to watch a video or view your website. However, include the link under your signature, so it’s there if they want to click on it.

  3. Melony Teague says:

    Thank you! I love that response, Rachelle! Big smile here.

  4. Carol Ashby says:

    With so many submissions restricted to email, it does make it hard to keep an agent awake by including some premium coffee in the package.

  5. Renee Garrick says:

    Dear Rachelle,
    What a relief! Your timing of this post is so perfect for me. It’s nearly time to submit my very first query . . . and I’ve been wondering just how to approach this whole process. It’s nice to know I can relax and be myself instead of that stuffy business-only persona I was considering.

  6. My serious hist/fic query was mostly serious. Like, 99%,
    But if I had to query my rom/com stuff? Welllll, let’s just say The Snark Lives.