To Who It May Concern,
Since finishing my blockbuster erotic novel “Beneath Me,” I been sending out – whatcha call them things-quiries I think. Anyway I sent them out to every agent in the book but only one of them bothered to email me back, and that one said “you gotta be kidding me”. I don’t even know for sure what he/she/it means by that, but I been addressing all my quiries like To Who It may concern, and sometimes Dear Sir or Madam as the case may be. But still only one weird response?
I know I got a killer novel, so is somethin wrong with my quirie do you think? Please help me Sir.
Dear Query not-so-Expert,
I really shouldn’t be responding to your email and break your losing streak, but being the sweet, lovable, compassionate kitty that I am, here’s my response. Just don’t expect it to be sympathetic.
First of all, the word you want for the type of letter you send to agents is “query,” not “quiry.” You may inquire about the status of your brain, but you query agents.
Second, you need to ascertain the genre your novel fits in, and then only query those agents who handle it. Contacting agents who prefer romance, for instance, with a manuscript in the sci-fi genre will pretty much guarantee no responses. Believe me, using the shotgun approach will not work.
Third, never, never, NEVER – did I say never? – address a query letter the way you demonstrated above. Besides determining the genres that each agent represents, get the names of the ones who handle your category and address each query letter with that agent’s name. For example, if the agent’s name is Suzie Blake – and you’re quite certain that this is a female agent – write the salutation part of your letter as:
Dear Ms. Blake,
Always be respectful in your letters to them, and never use an arrogant tone in your query. I guarantee those agents will hit their delete button faster than you can say catnip. Even if you think you’ve written the next Great American Novel, don’t say it. Let your manuscript speak for itself.
One last word of advice – not that you deserve it – but here it is anyway: Get an editor for your query letters before sending any more out.
Now I guess I’d better pretend to look for mice before my guardian kicks my furry butt out. Lying on the best seat in the house and looking beautiful doesn’t seem to be enough for her. Some humans just don’t know when they’ve got it good.
P.S. I am not a Sir!!!!! (sigh) Why do I even bother with blockheads like you?!!!