Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mary Mary quite contrary, wont you please represent my book?

Last night over at http://www.writeoncon.com Jessica Sinsheimer did a LIVE QUERY event. It was pretty awesome. I learned a lot, and she powered on for an hour longer than she had too. In my opinion any of you guys would be lucky to have her.

There is no point in spreading false sunshine, she didn’t much care for my query. In fact she didn’t say much about it. She told me to cut the first line, because she said it was confusing. Told me I should write about pirates, because in the bio part of my query it says I used to be one (true story!) Then, she she went back and tried to connect me being a pirate to the rest of my book. I didn’t understand at first, why, but while I was questioning every decision in my life up until that point, a dear friend pointed out the line she told me to cut.

“Skeletons do regret.”

Does it look familiar? It should. Remember that awesome Twitter Pitch Contest I won from Shelley Watters blog with Agent Suzie Townsend? This one:

Skeletons do regret. Drowning was the easy part. The beautiful but ghastly bones of broken boys & false flesh are now Marlow's whole world.

My dear sweet, unqueried friend, that I love so VERY VERY much. Was pointing out, what I spent a year of my life living. No two agents like the same thing—like EVER. You shouldn’t take it personally, because it’s true, but if you are like me you wont be able to not.

Last Year Nathan Bransford (when still an agent- but who cares he is still awesome) wrote on his blog “How to Deal With Contrary Query Advice” here:


It’s a fantastic starting place, but for what happened for me, this didn’t even scratch the surface.

The first book I ever queried, was a MG urban Fantasy, called Barneby Knotts. Here’s the pitch:

Barneby Knotts is fifteen, going sixteen, and he has the attitude to prove it. He comes from a long line of illustrious heroes and has epic amounts to live up to. In nothing but his hipster jeans and high-tops he will save the world, or something.

All this week, I am going to be talking about the contrary advice I received about Barneby Knotts. I am also going to talk about how I handled it completely wrong, and how that nearly destroyed me as a writer. No joke.

DON’T FORGET about the contest! Tell your friends!!


Karen said...

I am SO happy to read this!! :)

Elana Johnson said...

This is so true! Every agent is going to see something different when they read a query. I was present at the WOC event, and I liked A LOT of the queries that Jessica then ripped apart. It's just a matter of perspective.

Angela Kulig said...

Absolutely! And you know what else? I HATED a lot of the ones she liked. I kept thinking, I'd never read that. Everyone likes different books, I hate some best sellers, and love some books that tanked. I think it helps be reminded that the same holds true even on such a low level.