Pub Rants

Kristin As A Talking Head

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STATUS: I work way too late.

What’s playing on the iPod or the XM radio right now? PYRO by Kings of Leon

When I was at the San Miguel de Allende conference in Mexico, Publishing strategist Janet Goldstein grabbed me and ask if I would do a 2 minute video for her flipcam on 2 quick tips for writing query letters.
It was such a lovely day, I couldn’t resist. If you can keep up with the fact that I seem to be talking a mile a minute (hey, TV personality I am not), there might be a nugget of good info embedded in this talking head video. Enjoy!

37 Responses

  1. Nik said:

    Great information, Kristin. Before seeing that video, I thought query letters were all about cramming in
    the entire description of a 100,000 word MS into 300 words. All the stuff I read about them suggested such a thing, which led to a lot of frustration.
    It’s good know otherwise :).

  2. Sophia the Writer said:

    Kristin I can’t emphasize enough how helpful this was! Your snippet was like a query letter itself – it packed critical information into a short space of time.

    And yes, you didn’t speak too fast at all.

  3. Anonymous said:

    Thanks Kristin! I’m surprised to hear you say that reading pages will prompt you to make MORE of a snap judgment than if you hadn’t. Do you think you could talk more about this?

  4. J.A. said:

    Anon 6:33, maybe she means that if they request pages, it will be more than a couple and they’ll give it more consideration because pyschologically they know they’ve requested it. If it’s just a random page in their inbox, there’s no psychological attachment. Just a guess.

    Kristin you sound awesome in this video!! And you look great! Excellent description.

    Any advice for multi-pov novels like The Emperor’s Children?? The inciting incident is different for different characters, etc. Thanks!

  5. Chris V said:

    I agree with everyone – great tips, Kristin! I’m with “Anon” above, though, and am wondering about the snap judgement you may make if a couple pages are included with the query. Could you maybe explore that a little more at some point? Definitely interests me.

  6. Janet Goldstein said:

    Thx for doing the video Kristin and so great to meet you in person! That last “extra” tip really struck a nerve. I will share this insight widely.

  7. Suzanne said:

    Thanks for the tips! It’s so easy to get sidetracked by all the rules and forget what the query is all about. This was a good reminder of that!

  8. Peace, Lena and Happiness said:

    Even as a southerner (and we do everything slow) I can assure you that you didnt speak too fast.

    Thanks for the great tips, and as someone else said, it was nice to put a voice to the picture since I’ve never met you.

  9. margie2092 said:

    OMG, I am just about to start my very first query letter and cannot believe my luck for having seen this. I cannot thank you enough. 🙂

  10. Brad Huebert said:

    Thank you! I’ve never heard someone put it that way: I’m not trying to pull off a synopsis in two paragraphs. Go figure…

    The first thirty pages is hard enough, but doable.


  11. jen storer said:

    Gosh you are so at ease in front of the camera! I just enjoyed listening to your accent…but of course what you had to say was important too! thanks! jx

  12. Carmen said:

    Well, along with your nuggets of info (thank you), I learned how to pronounce “query.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word aloud before this. And I wasn’t saying it properly in my head. You saved me from sounding silly at some point in the future!

  13. Jessica Lee said:

    You’ve really given me insight into the right way to write my query! Thanks so much!

    Speaking of queries – I know agents usually take a few months to get back to you on full manuscripts, but my emails sometimes go awry and disappear into cyberspace. Upon receiving a full manuscript, would an agent usually fire back a short confirmation saying they received it? It’s been a few weeks since I submitted my full, and I’m wondering if I should politely verify with the agent that she has it…? Or would that make an agent feel rushed and irritate her?

    Thanks again!

  14. Sari Webb said:

    Thanks for the tips, Kristin! I didn’t think you spoke fast at all, but then I’m from Australia and New Zealand. NZers speak the fastest out of all English speaking countries 😉

  15. jen said:

    Thank you so much for your awesome tips. Now, i fell like Eliza Doolittle: I think I’ve got it! By George, I think I’ve got it!

    You are an inspiration and it’s great to put a voice and face to your blog.

  16. Jeff Baird said:

    Classic Kristin! Yes, I liked hearing her voice too. After all this time it adds “flavor” to the voice in my head as I write and rewrite my query. Also, you look in person like your Blog picture! A warning to new people who were amazed by this interview, this is nothing new to us. If it’s new to you…you better head for Query shark and Kristin’s query workshop. I would say her tips were basic in the process. Start by writing “Inciting Incident” 100 times. Trust me…it helps~! Then look up the defination…”a distinct piece of action, or an episode, as in a story or play.” Now your ready!!!

  17. The First-Timer said:

    Thank you, Kristin. I think many of us are twisted one way in how to write a query letter by Query Shark, another by another agent, and some of the examples on your web site suggest something else. And your short talk was well-timed for my next blog entry (to be posted 4/8)!! Thank you for the great information.

  18. Kym Lucas said:

    Thank you! I hope to remember these tips and that they will help keep me focused on the essentials, rather than getting bogged down by unnecessary details.

    I’m so glad you took the time out of your day to state your piece!

  19. Sara Jane Wade said:

    Great video, Kristin, and also great advice! I think this is the first time I’ve seen you other than in pictures, (long time lurker here) and you’re lovely! What you said about the first 30 pages really has me rethinking how I approach queries. Thank you!

  20. Mark said:

    Wow! Thank you so much Kristin!As always, the information that you provide is invaluable. I too am working on my first query letter, and your video gave me a new perspective that I’m sure will help.
    Thanks again!


  21. Anonymous said:

    You know, I’ve been reading query tips for years – since the Miss Snark, Query Shark, Nathan days… and that is the clearest and best way I’ve ever heard it described.

    And so timely… I actually needed to hear that this very week.

  22. Diana Stevan said:

    Thanks for the tips, and from beautiful San Miguel de Allende, yet. I went there to study art eons ago. Anyway, with your tips, you’ve just made writing a query letter more manageable.

  23. Anonymous said:

    How does a fictionalized story of a murderous event from firsthand knowledge float? What category is that? I have read and read and found nothing about a fictionalized story of a real event with name changes of the real characters to protect me and others physically and from lawsuits.