Querying Agents?

by Ane Mulligan

When is an agent query like a party?

Writers partying 
When you ask the agent to meet too many characters in the
space of one page. It’s like getting introduced to a dozen people at a party
and trying to remember their names, what they do for a living, and how they
relate to the host. Stick to your POV characters for using their names.
Everyone else, refer to in the manner they relate to the POV character; i.e.:
husband, daughter, boss, etc.
Check your name tag
If you’re the one writing those nametags everyone has to
wear, be sure you spell their names right. Oh, and for pity sake give the right
one to the right guest. Slapping Brandilyn Collins on Chip MacGregor’s chest is just wrong on so many levels. If
you use the same query email, make darn sure you’ve replaced the previous
agent’s name. Sending Chip a query with Steve Laube’s name on it will guaranty
your email is deleted before it’s read … or forwarded to Steve.
When the guests don’t know when to leave, the host can only
turn the lights out and go to bed. The query synopsis should be short, like a
back cover copy. Save the 3-page one for when the agent asks for it. The query
is a teaser, a hook. Pique the agent’s interest but don’t put her to sleep.
Now, make sure you have the directions to the party. Go to
the agent’s website and know what they’re looking for. If they only want
romance and suspense, don’t send your YA sci-fi. That’s the shortest route to
the delete key.
Always check the dress code
Oh, and finally check the dress code. Showing up for a
dressy dinner party in jeans shows class. Unfortunately, it’s third class. Read
the agent’s guidelines and follow them. It’ll save you a lot of embarrassment.
If you follow the party rules, you’ll get an invitation to
the next event or at least invited to send your proposal and sample chapters.

Ane Mulligan writes
Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. Her debut book Chapel Springs Revival releases in 2014.
She’s a multi-published playwright, a humor columnist and a syndicated
blogger. She resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband and two very
large dogs.