Update: Elisabeth Weed has joined forces with several other star agents to form The Book Group! You can query her at email@example.com (cc: Elisabeth).
If you missed part 1 of my interview with agent Elisabeth Weed–who isn’t just any agent; she’s my agent–click HERE; that’s where you’ll learn what Elisabeth is looking for, how to query her, the importance of the first five pages of your ms, and common problems in a ms.
Today we’ll chat about how to write a good query, what Elisabeth would like to find in her inbox and more. Enjoy!
Interview with Elisabeth Weed, Part 2
TW: I firmly believe there are great stories out there that end up in drawers simply because the writer didn’t know how to draft a good query letter. Do you have any query-writing advice? What can a writer do to ensure that one page is doing her entire body of work justice?
EW: I think it’s helpful to read jacket copy, which is how books are sold in bookstores. Jacket copy is also kept under a page. A lot of times, I’ll see query letters that are trying to jam in too much information, when really, all you want to get across is the plot and flavor of the book. If it’s non-fiction and you want to sell your credentials, you can sum them up and refer someone to your website or to the proposal.
TW: How do you feel about writers who compare themselves to known authors in a query?
EW: I like it but I know from agent panels that not everyone does. I think it’s a helpful tool for the author to figure out who their audience is. It also shows that they are reading what’s currently out there. I think you can run into trouble if you compare yourself to an author, and then it really falls short, but if you truly feel it’s resonant of someone, then it’s a useful tool—and something agent’s use to pitch editors.
TW: How important is it to look at an agent’s client list before querying, and how can you use that list to help you decide if that agent is right for you? [Read more…]