Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Query Questions with Victoria Lowes

If you're here for the Agent Greeting contest, please see the post below this one or go here.

Writers have copious amounts of imagination. It's what makes their stories so fantastic. But there's a darker side to so much out of the box thinking. When a writer is in the query trenches, their worries go into overdrive. They start pulling out their hair and imagine every possible disaster.

 


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.

Please welcome newest agent of The Bent Agency, Victoria Lowes as she shares her answers to common query questions.


Is there a particular time of year that is better to query?

No, not really. Obviously around times like the holidays, people wind down, but that’s the same for any industry.


Does one typo or misplaced comma shoot down the entire query?

If it’s just one or two, then no. If there are multiple grammatical errors, then that’s a red flag.


Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong?

I almost always read the sample pages. The only reason I’d skip them is if it’s a genre that I’m not considering, like middle-grade.


Do you prefer a little personalized chit-chat in a query letter, or would you rather hear about the manuscript?

I like a little chit-chat that shows the author did their homework rather than querying 60 agents at once. One or two sentences are sufficient though- just enough to show you’ve done your homework but not too much so as to distract from your work.


Does it matter whether the word count/genre information is first or last in a query?

Not really.


Is there a bias against querying authors who have self-published other books?

Not at all.


How many queries do you receive in a week? How many requests might you make out of those?

My query inbox (& status as an agent) is quite new so I’ve only been receiving about 60 a week and since I’m trying to build my list, I’ve been requesting quite a lot!


Have you form rejected great projects you think could be accepted elsewhere or do you try to give some feedback?

Since I’m not inundated with queries just yet, I try to give a little feedback with each query I pass on.


What does ‘just didn’t connect enough’ mean to you?

I usually use this in reference to the characters. This usually means that I didn’t feel they were developed enough and I didn’t find myself caring the way I would’ve liked to about them.


What themes are you sick of seeing?

Personally, I’m sort of over the whole woman-has-a-great-aunt-she-never-knew-about-and-has-inherited-a-cottage-in-a-small-town-and-rediscovers-herself-with-the-help-of-a-rustic-man plot line. I just feel like it’s been overdone.


What three things are at the top of your submission wish list?

An historical fiction set in early 20th century that has romantic elements, a contemporary romance with an authentic voice, and a suspenseful female-driven mystery.


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Victoria is currently representing only digital-first titles at the Bent Agency.

I was born and raised in Queens, New York and graduated from the City University of New York, Queens College. Before joining the Bent Agency, I completed internships at Serendipity Literary and the Carol Mann Agency. In my spare time I can be found teaching dance classes for young students or watching re-runs of The Office.

I love books that teach me something, whether it be about a culture I don’t know, event in history or about the dynamics of a tumultuous young romance. I want to root for your characters -- connect with them and the problems they face. I'm looking for characters as complex and interesting as those I meet in real life.



6 comments:

  1. Victoria- Are you looking at New Adult? Thanks for this interview ladies :)

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    1. Hi Deirdre- Absolutely! Send it on over.

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  2. Great interview - it's always nice to know agents do look at those sample pages along with the query :)

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  3. My favorite answer....."I've been requesting quite a lot." Great interview.

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  4. Ms. Lowes--Are interested in multi-cultural fiction?...One that takes place in Turkey?

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