By Julie Kazimer
*Keep reading for a very special holiday gift from me to you! No skipping ahead or you’ll be on the naughty list.
Oh, the holidays. Goodwill toward our fellow man. Gingerbread houses. A half-finished novel left over from NaNoWriMo. And of course, the dreaded New Year’s Resolution.
I bet I know what yours is. No, I’m not psychic (or any variation on the word like psychotic). I know what your resolution is because you’re a writer, and we all want one thing—peace on Earth, but barring that, we’d love a major book deal with a movie franchise, and a few million readers.
Not a lot to ask, but how can our New Year’s Resolution get us there?
It all starts with a query.
Every year, for many years, my resolution was to query agents and editors in a quest for the aforementioned book deal. And every year, for so many years, I’d quit by February. Why? Because I was either being rejected outright or ignored.
Looking back, it makes complete sense.
There wasn’t anything wrong with my novels (for the most part). But there was something very wrong with how I was approaching those agents and editors. My queries sucked. Bad.
This past month, I was asked to judge a writing contest where the writers provided a query with their submission. It occurred to me while reading the queries that they all fell into three categories:
1) Well written, interesting, unique concept, and appropriate for the agent/editor. A winning query. One guaranteed to pique the interest of an agent enough for a partial or full request.
2) Well written, but lacking spark, either with voice or concept. These queries only get a request if the sample pages included are far more interesting.
3) Poorly written (structure, grammar, typos, run-ons, etc), which, no matter how great the concept is, can’t be overcome. No requests.
Sadly my queries often fell into the 3rd option. That’s why I’m going to give you a special gift (or not so special depending on your viewpoint). I’m offering to critique your query before you get ready to hit send in the New Year.
Here’s the deal, you can post your query in the comments, and I will read it, and comment on things I would change. Why would you listen to me, you might ask? Because I’ve made every query mistake known to writers. I’ve written hundreds, read double that, and am willing to read yours, for free.
If you are worried about someone stealing your idea if you post your query, you can email it to me at jkazimer at msn.com. If you’re worried about me stealing your idea, I’m terribly offended and think I might cry, right after I finish plagiarizing JK Rowlings.
This gift only will last from today until December 12th. So get to posting those queries, and, if you read the other queries and would like to comment on either the query or what I’ve said about it, please do so. It takes a village…minus all that reindeer poop.
J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE as well as the forthcoming book, The Assassin’s Heart. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator. For more about Julie, visit her website and blog.