Now that everyone is back from their holiday celebrations, agents will start seeing an increase in their submission stacks. If you have been working hard to get your manuscript ready, you might want to take a moment to make sure you don't make any of these common mistakes when querying agents...
1. DEAR EDITOR OR TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Whether you are submitting your manuscript to an agency or directly to a publisher, you want to make sure you address your query to the correct person. Take time to check out the submissions guidelines on their websites. Check out the websites of the authors working with these companies to determine an actual contact name to attach to your query. Statistics show people LOVE hearing their names and taking the time to address your query letter to the right person instead of simply tacking a "to whom it may concern" or a "dear editor" as a header to your query will show the person considering your manuscript that you are a professional who did their homework.
2. I WROTE A YOUNG ADULT, HIGH FANTASY MEDIEVAL HISTORICAL FICTION MYSTERY LOVE STORY ADVENTURE QUEST
There is nothing that will make an editor or publisher's head spin faster than a writer who can't decide what they've actually written. How can you submit to the correct person if you don't know what you wrote? Your manuscript might have elements from different genres, but you need to decide what is the MAIN focus of your story line. There will be people out there who cover a variety of genres but as a writer, your manuscript identification can't be convoluted. If you're not sure, have your critique group or some beta readers help you to identify exactly WHAT you wrote before sending out that query letter.
3. I KNOW YOU'RE CLOSED TO SUBMISSIONS, BUT YOU'LL WANT TO READ MY BEST SELLING MANUSCRIPT
Agents and publishers LOVE discovering heart stopping, page turning manuscripts. What they DON'T like are writers who try to force their manuscripts on them without having enough respect for the querying process. Make sure to check their guidelines first to see if they are currently accepting submissions. This would also be a good time to make sure you are sending your query to the right individual.
As a writer, you've poured your heart and soul into your story. Now make sure you give it the best chance of being requested by an agent or publisher by avoiding some common mistakes on the road to publication.
I hope you learned something new today and be sure to check back tomorrow for the next post in my month long celebration!
Addie comes from a long line of readers, or “story catchers,” as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.
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