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.
Today's Query Questions comes from Moe Ferrara of Bookends, LLC. Moe will also be taking part in New Agent! Here's what she had to say about her query slush.
Is there a better or worse time of year to query?
Does one typo or misplaced comma shoot down the entire query?
Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong?
Do you have an assistant or intern go through your queries first or do you check all of them?
Do you keep a maybe pile of queries and go back to them for a second look?
If the manuscript has a prologue, do you want it included with the sample pages?
Do you prefer a little personalized chit-chat in a query letter, or would you rather hear about the manuscript?
*Hint: it’s the second one.
Most agents have said they don’t care whether the word count/genre sentence comes first or last. But is it a red flag if one component is not included?
Writers hear a lot about limiting the number of named characters in a query. Do you feel keeping named characters to a certain number makes for a clearer query?
Many agents say they don't care if writers are active online. Could a twitter account or blog presence by a writer tip the scales in getting a request or offer? And do you require writers you sign to start one?
Some writers have asked about including links to their blogs or manuscript-related artwork. I’m sure it’s not appropriate to add those links in a query, but are links in an email signature offensive?
If a writer makes changes to their manuscript due to feedback should they resend the query or only if material was requested?
What does ‘just not right mean for me’ mean to you?
Do you consider yourself a hands-on, editorial type of agent?
What three things are at the top of your submission wish list?
2. YA-wise, I have a soft spot for the fae and would love a fae-centric Urban Fantasy. Something with a new twist on the Tuatha Dé Danann. Really, any new twist on the paranormals would be great—just no vampires please! It has to be something really special and new. (and squeezing in an extra want here… I’m surprised there haven’t been more assassins in my inbox given my love of Assassin’s Creed!)
3. MG-wise, I’d love to find an adventure-esque series with puzzles. A MG Indiana Jones!
What are some of your favorite movies or books to give us an idea of your tastes?
Whenever I’m asked about my favorite book, I always give the same answer: the FEVER series by Karen Marie Moning. It’s a wonderful mix of romance + urban fantasy + fae. I love all things Arthurian and fairy tales as well as Greek and Roman mythology, so I’m always drawn to either retellings of both of these things or new twists on the old legends. Favorite movies / TV shows right now include: Jupiter Ascending, all things Marvel (I have a real weakness for Bruce Banner…), Once Upon a Time (my poor, poor Rumple), Star Trek (the original series, as well as the more recent films), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (see above for new twists on old legends / Arthurian).
Becoming a literary agent was fitting for the girl who, as a small child, begged her dad to buy her a book simply because "it has a hard cover." Growing up, she had a hard time finding YA books outside of Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine, and instead tackled Tom Clancy or her mom's romance novels. Though her career path zigzagged a bit—she attended college as a music major, earned a JD from Pace Law School, then worked various jobs throughout the publishing industry—Moe was thrilled to join the BookEnds team in May of 2015 as a literary agent and the foreign rights manager.
A Pennsylvania native, she is the proud owner of one rambunctious guinea pig who is a master at stealing extra treats. When not reading, she is an avid gamer and always awaiting the next Assassin's Creed release.
Moe is interested in science fiction and fantasy for all age groups (no picture books). She loves a bit (or a lot!) of romance in her fiction, so the right contemporary or historical romance will spark her interest. She's LGBTQ friendly, so send her that male/male erotic romance in your back pocket! At this time she's not looking for nonfiction, women's fiction, or cozy mysteries.