After taking Elana Johnson's query writing class at WIFYR in summer 2013, I had a 100 percent success rate at getting requests for my full manuscript for the rest of the year. My secret? Writing the query in the voice of my character and then changing it back to third-person. No other tip has helped me nail the tone of a query letter better. I also really appreciated the reminder that everything mentioned in your query should have happened in the first 50 pages of your novel---character goal established, conflict established, nemesis introduced. Thanks, Elana!
After an agent suggested I add one tiny tidbit to my query letter, my record went to 17 percent request rate in 2014. My secret? Admitting the manuscript had already been on submission with a previous agent. And this means to me that if you send something to editors on submission, you better make dang sure the manuscript is ready because it's probably your only chance.
I am one of those newbie writers who still feels that my first manuscript is my most publishable 7 years (7 years!! WTH?) after I wrote it. But not for long. I'm working on my fourth and fifth manuscripts, and they are both freakin' A-Maze-Ing . . . or at least I know how to make them sound cool in a query.
Have you ever sent something out on submission before it's ready?
Do you have a secret formula for good query writing?