Clue! Clue! I need a Clue!

Is there a way to make your query stand out amongst the others?

Well, you can try writing really well. I've heard that works.


michaelgav said...

You can also try using the word amongst in the opening line. I figure that to be an attention grabber.

a naughty miss said...

Pffft! My first ruined keyboard in 2007.

Anonymous said...

I recommend pink paper with a really eye-catching font. Make sure to use MS Word's "word art" feature. Mention a really famous book that you like and say your book is like that one. Also make sure your mom and your spouse read your book so you can say that they liked it in the query. That goes a long way.

Anonymous said...

Actually, by its nature it already is standing out amongst the others. I think what you might be looking for, though, is to help your query stand out apart from the others.

Anonymous said...

uh, try pop ups:


mist1 said...


December Quinn said...

Darn, anonymous one already gave my suggestions.

Except for glitter. Glitter in the envelope turns reading your query into a party instead of work. It just feels festive and exciting, and that will help the agent get excited about your work.

Oh, you could include cover art mock-ups you've made at home, especially if it's your own original art. That will give them an idea how the finished book will look. Alternatively, you can have your book printed at Lulu and send them a copy of that. Makes it easier for them to read, and looks way impressive!

Zany Mom said...

Wasn't that just the whole point of the Crapometer? Nearly 700 entries with responses to what works and why, and what doesn't, and why.

Write well, write a hook that's intriguing, sell yourself.

Go back. Read. Do more homework.

Virginia Miss said...

read this blog's archives

Anonymous said...

:Tired editor:

YES!! Include that week's winning super-grand jackpot lottery ticket and you WILL get top return service from me. I will personally open my own publishing house just for your book!

(Then I will buy my own island and not trouble nobody ever again...)

blogless_troll said...

Send it on spontaneously combustible paper and include the line, "This query will self-destruct in five seconds." At the very least, your prospective agent will spend the rest of the day humming that theme song and pretending she's a spy.

tera scribella said...

The glitter suggestion really works. I know, because my 11 year old daughter's friend used it on her show cow once. She didn't win the competition, but boy, did that cow sparkle.

Anonymous said...

Ways to make your query letter stand out amongst the others:

1.) If it's for space opera, write it as if you are your protagonist.

2.) Deliberately misspell the agent's name. Works every time.

3.) If it's for historical fiction, write it as if you're from that time period and geographical region. You can never go wrong with cuneiform tablets or cross-lined vellum.

4.) Glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.

5.) Write it on magnesium flash paper. When the agent wads it up and tosses it in the trash--WHOOSH! Fun for the whole office!

6.) If it's for epic fantasy, be sure to include a pronunciation guide to all the names, and a brief summary of the language structure. So many authors forget to do this.

7.) Include a highly perishable and distinctive-smelling food item in the envelope, so the agent knows to open yours first.

8.) Mention that Barabara Bauer, PhD, sold your first book to PublishAmerica, and it's listed on Amazon.

9.) If it's for romance, explain that you weren't able to send a SASE because the warden revoked your stamp privileges after that incident in the exercise pen, but if the agent calls and leaves a message with the guards, your cellmate will find a way to get it to you.

10.) Hand-deliver your query letter. Politely explain that you will sit in the agent's office until she reads it. No, really, you don't mind.


December Quinn said...

Write in the letter how much better your book is than the other garbage being published in your genre these days.

Tell the agent you've read work by some of their clients and your stuff is much better. This shows you've done your research, and they're always looking to improve their client roster!

Anonymous said...

I wish I'd seen the sparkle cow, tera.

--E said...

Don't forget to slip a twenty into the envelope. Nothing says, "I know how to win readers" like cash.

You might also try packing the query in a funny box--there was some author years ago who sent a manuscript in a pizza box, and another who sent one in a suitcase. Those certainly stood out, for I can still remember reading about those.

And when all else fails, just track down the agent at a convention, follow him/her into the bathroom, and slip your query and first five pages under the door. They love that stuff.

Word Doctor said...

Goddamn, aren't we a sarcastic lot! Snark, I love "you," but: "Well, you might try writing really well..?" C'mon!

Happy New Year.

nut said...

Write with genuine chocolate ink on a white chocolate bar, filled with alcohol of the agent's/editor's choice.

On second thought, just send the alcohol, and your calling card.

writtenwyrdd said...

Capitalizing random letters and using 3 for e will certainly get attention.

writtenwyrdd said...

after tera scribella's remark, I think we now must add the "glitter cow" to our lexicon on Miss Snark's blog.

What's the definition of a glitter cow? Why, the things one does to garner attention which are wholly inappropriate.