Here to relieve some of that endless worrying is a new series of posts called Query Questions. I'll ask the questions which prey on every writer's mind, and hopefully take some of the pain out of querying. These are questions that I've seen tossed around on twitter and writing sites like Agent Query Connect. They are the type of questions that you need answers for the real expert--agents!
If you have your own specific query question, please leave it in the comments and it might show up in future editions of Query Questions as I plan to rotate the questions
Today I'm very pleased to bring you answers from agent extraordinary Jordy Albert of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. Thank you so much Ms. Albert for taking the time to respond and maybe ease some fears about the query process.
Does one typo or misplaced comma shoot down the entire query? No, because I might really like the story, or the overall writing might be really good.
Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong? I will always look at the sample pages; however, I may not look at the entire sample. I can often tell a few paragraphs in if I'd like to read further.
Do crazy fonts caused by email gremlins make for an automatic rejection? No, because it's difficult to control what happens once you send an email.
Do you prefer a little personalized chit-chat in a query letter, or would you rather hear about the manuscript? A little bit of a bio is nice because it tells us about you, and it's always a good idea to include if you do have previous publishing credentials.
Does it matter whether the word count/genre information is first or last? I don't think it matters so much which comes first, but it is important information that we need to know, so just as long as it's in there.
Is there a bias against querying authors who have self-published other books? I don't think so, especially with how well some self-published books are doing.
Many agents say they don’t care if writers are active online. Could an active/known online presence by an author tip the scales in getting a request or offer? I don't think an active/or lack of an online presence would encourage/discourage an agent from offering representation, but I definitely think it helps to get an author's name out and build a readership.
What does ‘just didn’t connect enough’ mean to you? For me, it means that I wasn't emotionally invested enough in the character(s)/story to see what happens.
What three things are at the top of your submission wish list?
New Adult Contemporary Romance
YA (sci-fi, contemporary, historical ...with a strong romantic element.).
What are some of your favorite movies or books to give us an idea of your tastes?
Books: Harry Potter, Poison Princess, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Fault in Our Stars. Once an Angel by Teresa Medeiros and Beware a Scot's Revenge by Sabrina Jeffries. I love anything by Karen Marie Moning and Kresley Cole! I also love Larissa Ione and Stacia Kane.
Movies: Shawshank Redemption, Galaxy Quest, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Indiana Jones, The Princess Bride, The Goonies, The Neverending Story.
Jordy Albert is a Literary Agent and co-founder of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. She holds a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University, and a M.A. from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with Marisa Corvisiero during her time at the L. Perkins Agency and the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Jordy also works as a freelance editor/PR Director. She enjoys studying languages (French/Japanese), spends time teaching herself how to knit, is a HUGE fan of Doctor Who, and loves dogs.
She is looking for stories that capture her attention and keep her turning the page. She is looking for a strong voice, and stories that have the ability to surprise her. She loves intelligent characters with a great sense of humor. She would love to see fresh, well-developed plots featuring travel, competitions/tournaments, or time travel. Jordy is specifically looking for:
* Middle Grade: contemporary, fantasy, action/adventure, or historical.
* YA: sci-fi, dystopian/post-apocalyptic, contemporary, historical--Though I am open to looking at other sub-genres, I'm looking for YA that has a very strong romantic element.
* NEW ADULT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
* Romance (contemporary and historical).