STATUS: Praise be. Finally, a completed contract, ready for client signature, came by FedEx today. By the way, this deal was done in mid-July. Three months. I hate to say it but that’s about normal.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? FADED LOVE by Patsy Cline
I imagine that most writers read their query letters until they are blue in the face before sending. I imagine they also run it by a few trusted readers for feedback before sending (and if you aren’t, time to rethink that). And yet, despite all your good efforts, typos happen, don’t they?
I don’t even want to think about the number of grammar mishaps I’ve had on this blog, so I understand. Don’t worry overmuch about that. It happens and I have to say that most agents are pretty forgiving. We’ll allow a typo or two. It’s just when the English language gets away from a writer that it raises an eyebrow. As agents, we assume you’ve mastered the tools of your trade—like sentences that make sense, or appropriate and powerful images, or even using metaphors and similes correctly.
When you miss, it really stands out so I’m recommending you go back and give your query another close look. Make sure what you wrote conveys the right image or is actually what you meant to say.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here are some recent examples culled from query letters.
Something sinister is brewing right under Jane Doe’s feet, and it threatens to ruin her– for good.
It’s okay that something sinister is brewing, but I’m just not sure it can happen under her feet.
Soon the two have passion for each other and a romance starts to bloom. And so does a stalker.
I guess a stalker can also start to bloom (which would be a rather innocuous turn of phrase if you think about it), but I’m pretty certain that’s not the tone or sentiment the writer really wanted to convey.
Phrasing misfires is what I call it. And if they are in the query letter, I don’t want to risk reading them in a partial.
Yep, you guessed it. Even if the story idea is sound, that query is getting a NO.