Querying: Surefire Ways to Attract an Agent

{Part of my series of querying agents, except not really advice at all}

Are you tired of receiving back boring old rejection letters? Form rejection letters from agents that probably (no, defnitely) do not read your queries? Well, here are some easy tips to make your letters stand out. The agent will probably call their interns to their laptops to take a look.

1.) WRITE IN ALL CAPS

Something says “POWERFUL WRITER” like the caps-lock key, because it emboldens your words. Think of your pitch like a commercial. Is it more effective for Stephen Fry to calmly explain to you the benefits of purchasing a product, OR DO YOU RESPOND BETTER TO BILLY MAYS IMPERSONATORS??????????????? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

2.) If you’re sending the query in the post, make it pretty

There’s nothing agents hate more than a boring, bland query letter printed in New Times Roman on white computer paper. What would really catch their eyes is a bright pink letter that’s bedazzled. An envelope that works like a pop-up book for your story. When they open your letter, confetti and glitter should explode in their faces. Your query, after all, needs to make an impression, right?

Even if you query via e-mail, make sure to add a cutesy background to show the agent how swell you are. Maybe a kitten. Or a baby. Your baby.

3.) Send along a Picture

Sometimes, agents are afraid that they’ll be queried by some monotonous book-writing robots who wish to flood the markets with paranormal romance and cliche fiction, so make sure your agent knows you’re a real by attaching a picture to your e-mail. You can paste it into the body of the e-mail as well, but if you put it as an attachment, they’ll want to open your other attachments, including your brilliant manuscript you just finished last night. And once they start reading, they’ll love it so much, they’ll offer you a billion dollars to represent it! As far as the picture goes, concerning the proper attire. less is more. If an agent has seen you naked, he has no choice but to take you on.

4.) Personalize

Tell your agent how you found him/her on the internet. Or a forum or something. Also make sure they know how you found their address so that you could slip the query into their mailbox at home. Also, tell them how much love them and that you’re their Number One Fan. Because agents love when you kiss up to them. They’ll be so chuffed to bits that they will be interested in a book about intergalactic talking hamster wars. Maybe send along a bottle of wine, too. And remember that picture you slipped in the envelope. Bonus points for photo-shopping the agent’s body right next to yours!

5.) Send off your manuscript hot off the press

Why bother with queries when you can just send your book? Agents hate dusty old manuscripts that have been edited to death. No, they want new and fresh, so get your manuscript to them before the market goes sour for your genre! After finishing it, topping off your manuscript at a pretty good length of 50,000 (how long Nanowrimo considers a novel to be), go get it bound and draw your own cover. Then, the agent will be so impressed at how fast you finished and got it to her, she’ll offer immediate representation!

6.) Be More Professional Than Them

There’s nothing an agent wants less than a debut author, so when querying an agent, make it seem as if you’ve published many books. “Oh, that Putlitzer Prize winning novel? Yes, that’s mine. I wrote that.”

Be a hotshot. Don’t ask if you can call them at midnight to pitch your brand new book. Just do it, because you’re the talent, after all. And you’re not going to be pushed around by a bunch of big wig agents. No, you’re going to blow all other books out of the water with your explosive novel. So, tell them that. And don’t bother to get their names spelled right, because that shows that you have enough time to do so. Instead, insist that they will want to take time to talk to you. You’ll try to fit them into your uber-busy schedule. If it looks like you care too much about being published, then they will squash you like a bug.

7.) Sell them on Your Book’s Marketability

No one knows your book better than you do, so you know best how awesome it is and how many billions of copies it will sell. Agents jump on books that you promise to be “on the bestseller list.” Make sure they’re aware that you’re the next Dan Brown, that Hamster Space Wars could very well be the next Harry Potter. And tell them about your publication credits, having written that haiku for your junior high literary magazine. Agents are salivary for a book that you’re sure “WILL MAKE YOU LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!” *GLITTER EXPLOSION*

I am in fact, I’m 100% sure that these methods will get you noticed by an agent. She may show your letter to other agents and laugh at your stupidity and lack of professionalism. But don’t worry, it’s all part of the plan, because at least now, they know your name.

If anyone has serious/ridiculous thoughts about queries, please, share them here.

About derekberry

Derek Berry is a novelist, poet, and student located in Charleston, SC.

Posted on July 5, 2011, in Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Nice blog here! Also your site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol cheap vps | unmetered vps |

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