Thursday, March 26, 2015

From the archives: Some Query Tips from Victoria

Continuing our month discussing queries, we have a great post from the archives from TBA agent Victoria Lowes:


As I make my daily trek into the slush pile, I’m often quite surprised at just how many authors make the same easily-corrected mistakes. So here are a few tips for those of you currently looking for representation to go over before you hit the send button.

1. Always follow the submission guidelines.
I’m always a little shocked at how many authors ignore our submission guidelines — like not including sample pages, or attaching them rather than embedding them. (You can find our submission guidelines here.) Each agent has her own preferences and you should make the necessary tweaks to your query to meet their guidelines. While it’s policy here at the Bent Agency to respond by asking the author to correct their mistake, for some agents, it means an automatic form rejection.

2. Make sure you get the agent’s name right and skip the mass email.
While you should certainly query multiple agents simultaneously, take a second to be sure that you’ve gotten the agent’s name correct. We won’t be insulted or take it personally, but you don’t want to come off as careless. Also, skip the 'To whom it may concern' and opt for addressing each agent personally.

3. Proofread.
One or two spelling/grammar mistakes won’t prove fatal for your query (we’ve all done it), but more than a few will be sure to raise a red flag with an agent.

4. Do your research.
Be sure to research the agent and what she’s currently looking for to make sure your project fits the bill.

5.  Be specific.
If you’ve been published before, we definitely want to hear about it. However, if you say that you have publishing credentials, be sure to include the details!

6. Don’t over self-promote.
It’s great to be enthusiastic and passionate about your work, but try to avoid going overboard tooting your own horn. If your project is that good—and it may very well be—we’ll be able to tell. You should use that space to give the agent a better sense of what your project’s about.

7. Keep it short and sweet.
You should be able to tell the agent what your book’s about, the hook and why you’re the author to write it in less than a page. And while you should always include a bio, try to keep it brief and only include relevant facts, like publishing credentials or what makes you the ideal person to write your novel.

8. Finish your book before querying.
While you may be anxious to find representation, avoid querying before you’ve finished your novel. Agents want to see full manuscripts that have gone through one or two rounds of edits first.

9.  Start your query off right.
It’s best to start your query off with your hook or synopsis, rather than your bio.

10.  Be creative.
Try to avoid starting your query with rhetorical questions like “What would you do if…” and “Have you ever wondered what it would be like if…” Be creative with your hook! You want your query to grab the agent’s attention right away.

Click here for the great Ask Agent that Beth and Victoria recently did on queries

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Deal announcement--Another Major Deal for Lisa Renee Jones

While I work remotely and visit family, publishers and authors in South Africa, I can reveal some more exciting deal news back in America! I'm thrilled to announce that Lisa Renee Jones has again sold to Micki Nuding at Gallery. Fans of Lisa's Inside Out series will especially love the news, as the new series is a spinoff and will be all about Ella. 

Here is the complete announcement from Publishers Marketplace. 
Congratulations Lisa!


March 24, 2015 - CARELESS WHISPERS by Lisa Renee Jones
Fiction: Women's/Romance
NYT and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones's CARELESS WHISPERS series, a new erotic spin-off to the INSIDE OUT series, about a woman who wakes up with amnesia in Italy, unsure of who she is until she meets a tall, dark, and sexy stranger with money and power who makes her want to be possessed, but when her past catches up with her, all is not as it seems, to Micki Nuding at Gallery, in a major deal, byLouise Fury at The Bent Agency (World).

Monday, March 23, 2015

[CLOSED] Ask Us Anything! Beth and Victoria will answer your query questions HERE from 12-3PM EST!


Today is the day! From 12-3PM EST, Victoria Lowes and Beth Phelan will answer your pressing questions about queries, the art of querying, the agonizing rejections, the energizing requests and offers, and anything else related to queries that you can think of! We promise transparency and minimal bathroom breaks. 

Please remember that Beth and Victoria are human beings and this is a subjective business – nothing they say is meant to be taken as a hard and fast rule of querying, but they offer their honest answers and hope that gives you some perspective. 

Please also remember to keep your questions broad and not too specific to your unique situation as we want all the questions and answers to help other authors too!

They’ll answer as many questions as they can between 12PM and 3PM EST when duty calls and they have to return to their magnificent clients. 

Post your questions in the comments section BELOW this blog post. Comments will be moderated so please wait a few minutes before trying to repost.

Thanks for joining us!

[EDIT 3:02PM EST] We are now closed to questions! Thank you all so much for bringing so many wonderful questions! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

AMA Coming Your Way!


Head’s up everyone!  Beth Phelan and Victoria Lowes will be doing an Ask Me Anything session this coming Monday, from noon to 3:00 pm, EST time.  As we’re talking about queries this month, please send in questions on that topic. 

For more on Beth and Victoria, please look here.  They’re answering questions about queries for any genre or readership (even if it’s not a genre they rep).

See you Monday and bring on the questions!


EDIT: If you are reading this right now because you think this is where the questions will be posted/answered, you are in the wrong place! 

To find the live AMA post, please go this way! Please do not post questions here. Thank you!