Query Letter Mishaps – Part 2

Last week, we looked at common query letter blurb mishaps. Today, we’ll check out what not to do with the bio section in your query.

-Don’t mention other projects. You can say this is book one in a series, but don’t go into details about the series.

-Don’t talk about reviews for this book or others you’ve written. Let the agent be the judge. She doesn’t need to know your mom or best friend or critique group loved your story.

-Don’t share too much. It’s okay to mention you have three kids and a dog, or that you’re a teacher and write during your free time. But don’t go into details about your life. Especially if those details are negative. The agent doesn’t want to know you’re in the middle of a divorce or that your mom just died.

-Don’t brag. While you might think your book is the best thing to hit the earth, don’t tell the agent/editor you feel this way. Let her judge for herself.

-Don’t compare yourself to a bestselling author. It’s okay to compare tone or style, but be careful. You don’t want the agent to think you’re making a direct comparison like “I’m the next Nora Roberts”. Or worse, “I write better than Nora Roberts”.

-Don’t tell the agent it’s your first book. This would be similar to going to a job interview and saying, “I’ve never done this before, but I’m eager to try.”

-Don’t draw attention to your rejections. Don’t tell the agent that others have rejected you. For one, why would this agent want something others don’t? And two, this shows the agent that she wasn’t your first choice. Nobody wants to come in second.

-Don’t reveal how long you have taken to write this book. Some writers take years to write that first book. This doesn’t mean that the next book will take as long to write, but it makes agents nervous, so keep that to yourself.

-Don’t threaten or try to manipulate the agent. Don’t say, “You’ll regret it if you don’t read my book.” Seriously. It happens.

-Don’t demand anything. Don’t tell the agent if she doesn’t respond within a week, you’ll find someone better. Don’t say you expect her to get you a million dollar deal or you won’t work with her. Don’t demand that she send you a rejection if she isn’t interested. Some agents don’t send rejections, and authors should assume no reply means no. If you don’t like that policy, don’t submit to those agents.

What are some other query mishaps you’ve seen?

If you want to check out my query letter/synopsis critique services, click here.

If you’re looking for a developmental/substantive edit of your manuscript, where I’d look at the big picture issues with the plot and characters, contact me for a sample edit. I have two slots available in October.

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Lynnette Labelle
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