Monday, October 25

Agent Laura Bradford On Queries—Workshop Notes

Hello guys. So this week I thought I'd do a series of blog posts about what I learned at the workshop on Saturday. Today, I'm going to talk about queries and what Laura Bradford said about them.

Alright, so the first event at the workshop was a 2 hour critique period where Laura went over several queries. Below are all things she talked about:

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  • In a query, she wants to know more about the story than your credentials. While this makes sense, you wouldn't believe how many people made this mistake.
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  • You must, must, MUST state the genre. She doesn't want to guess or assume what your genre is.
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  • If you do state your genre, you must deliver on that genre. Don't say that it's a romantic suspense with minor paranormal elements and then not mention a single paranormal element in the query.
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  • Do not make bold, all encompassing statements. They drive her insane. They're also pretty arrogant.
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  • While some agents don't want the query to go over 250 words, Laura said to use all of the space on the page. It's there for us to use, so use it!
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  • Hook by your characters, not your theme!
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  • Make sure the character relationships are clear!
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  • Include the associations you belong to (RWA, SCBWI, etc...) In her words, this generally tells the agents that you're "not a wing nut." LOL!
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  • If there is something in your story that might make an agent say no right off the bat, don't mention it! Obviously, don't lie. But if you keep some things to yourself, she may request pages and fall in love with it, regardless of any issues. However, once again, don't lie!
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  • If you write romance (Adult or YA), always include the romantic tension / how the characters feel about each other in the query letter.
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  • Know your genre inside and out, especially regarding word count! This is one of the biggest reasons why she rejects a query.
--------------------------------------------------------------------My comments on Laura: She's hilarious! Seriously. She was nice, informative, and very chatty. She seems like a wonderful agent. Her submission guidelines are here if you want to query her.


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So what do you guys think? Was anything surprising to you?

*Make sure to pop in Wednesday for Avon editor Tessa Woodward's comments on the importance of the first three pages!*

7 comments:

  1. I so want to query her. Alas, I am still not ready.

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  2. Great notes Nat! I'm going to add her to my list to query (one day).

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  3. thanks for the post, girl! Great info. She's on my to-query list...once I'm ready. :)

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  4. Thanks for posting this, Nat. It's nice to see into the mind of an agent - see if they're thinking what we think they're thinking. =o)

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  5. Tina- She was so funny. You definitely should query her when you're ready. =)

    Mel- Thanks =) And you should!

    Mary- You're welcome! She's great, so definitely query her =)

    B.E.- You're welcome! I agree, the session was very interesting =)

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. I always learn something when agents give workshops, and it sounds like this one was a great one!

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  7. Di- You're welcome love. Yeah, it really was. I enjoyed it a lot =)

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