Tuesday, 18 November 2008

How not to #7

Continuing with our 'How not to' guest blogs, bestselling author and former literary agent Orna Ross explains what NOT to say to an Agent or Editor:

"Hey, I just checked out your site and it looks pretty cool - wanna represent my brilliant book?…. Call me! Ted :-)”

The tone of your initial query e-mail to an agent or editor is all important. The trick is to be friendly but professional.

There’s no need to be stuffy, or to use big words in an effort to impress (used inappropriately, they don’t!). No jargon either, please. Just the facts. What you’re writing, how it compares to what else is out there, what you are asking of this particular person and why.

Editors and agents are human. (Yes, they are.) They understand what you are essentially seeking but if you want them to take your work seriously, your query needs to possess the polished nature of someone who knows the business -- even if you are just starting out.

Don’t adopt a pleading or a desperate tone. Don’t boast or tell them that you’re the next big thing. The best queries are those that convey - and therefore instil - a quiet confidence. You’re a writer – make your query the best piece of writing you’ve ever done.