Friday, April 23, 2010

Author Tip #3: Addressing Queries

Folks, before you query, research how! Querying is not easy, but the easiest is the part is "Dear Amy Hayden". 

Not "Hey Amy" Is this a rodeo? Are you going to start tossing around a lasso saying "Hey y'all!"? NO. This is a business letter. Delete. 

Not Dear ______. Yes, we do get those. Delete. 

Not "Dear Linn" UNLESS you are actually emailing Linn. I'm not Linn. If you are sending your query to, then it's fairly obvious that you don't address your query to Ms. Prentis! Delete. (Maybe. It's an honest mistake and other agencies have other rules. Bottom line: do the homework. )

Not "Dear Agent." This tells me you don't care enough about the work that is involved in researching each agencies particular likes and dislikes. 

You may as well be spam. Delete. 

That's all for now. 
Amy Hayden 


  1. OOps. I think you're talking about me! (haha) I just had one of those so-embarrassed-it-hurts moments and realized I did the "Dear ____" in my query!

    Anyway, it's a great post, especially for writers who modify a basic query to fit needs. It's a big reminder to PROOFREAD before hitting send!

  2. ash, LOOPHOLE for ya, at least with LPL, I would say that if you are one of the ________ culprits, just send it again. If I see two emails from the same email address back to back, I delete the first one and just assume that the 2nd try is "for real."

    And, if you are using a basic query, try and do as you would when writing a cover letter for a job application: tailor it slightly to each individual agency.

    And yes, proofreading is a big plus. Linn was a copy editor for many years and knows a misplaced comma when she sees one.

    Thanks for posting!

  3. I have one that has the hook, a blurb, and an 'about me' paragraph that I always tweak and tailor to fit the agents guidelines. Normally I'm pretty good about making sure it's perfect before I hit send. It's the in-person pitching that turns me into the incoherent babbling doof. Anyway, that's an awesome loophole, and I'm re-firing off the query now!