Sunday, April 8, 2012

April Awesomess: Query Workshop Notes

Happy April. Sorry I didn't blog last weekend. I was actually at RCRW Spring Intensive Conference and I have loads to share. First let me give you a brief overview of the weekend:
Friday- I checked into my hotel with writer/author friends Delilah Marvelle and Dana. After happy hour at the bar (all writers conferences must begin with happy hour, imo) we went to the agent/editor panel were we got to ask the industry titans questions.

Participating Agents:
Amy Boggs – Donald Maass Literary Agency
Natalie Lakosil – Laura Bradford Literary Agency
Lauren Ruth – BookEnds, LLC

Participating Editors:
Holly Blanck – St. Martins Press
Heather Howland – Entangled Publishing
Liz Pelletier – Entangled Publishing
Emily Ohanjanians – HQN/Harlequin

Yeah we had a fabulous group.

Saturday- Pitching to agents and editors in the morning and workshops all day. In the evening we participated in an informal round table with each of the editors and agents. All I can say is the industry knowledge I learned from these workshops more than paid for the admission fee. Plus I got to eat lunch with wonderful Heather Howland and Liz Pelletier. I KNOW!!! I'm still freaking out.

Sunday- Larry Brooks Writing Workshop all day. 

To say I was utterly exhausted by the end of the weekend is the biggest understatement of the year. Oh but so worth it.

Anyways here are my notes from Agent Lauren Ruth's workshop on queries:

She discussed the basic format for query letters as head, shoulders, knees, and toes:

Head- introduction

Shoulders- broad over-view of what the book is or the one sentence pitch


Toes- platform (twitter/blog, publishing experience), who you are, and goodbye

Query should be 250 words—not longer or shorter.

Do not compare big stories or movies in the query. You don't know if the agent or editor even will like them. Even if they do, they might not be interested in having something similar. 

Please put the title of your novel in CAPITAL LETTERS. It helps the agent/editor to find it easier.

Personalize the intro- Dear Lauren… It shows you've done your research. :)

Give the main conflict and the skeleton of the story in the blurb/synopsis.

Try not to ask questions when starting a query. 

What Lauren Ruth looks for:

1.      Main Character
2.      What she Wants
3.      What keeping her from getting it
4.      How she’ll solve the problem
5.      The connection between the hero and heroine.
6.      Show the character’s unique traits.
7.      Paranormal:
a.       How does the world work?
b.      Why is it different or special?
8.      YA: Show the issue that relates to teens.

Throughout the workshop we dissected sample queries which really helped us figure out what worked and what didn't. I've taken many query workshops but this one was the first to really help me know what agents are looking for. You can read more about queries on Lauren's blog

Okay, I have a lot of awesomeness coming this month:

April 16- I'm hosting the lovely Inara Scott and giving away a set of signed The Talents and The Marked. :)
April 22- Liz Pelletier's "magical" workshop notes. You won't want to miss this one.
April 29- Larry Brooks Writing workshop notes.

As always, thank you so much for reading!



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