Pay-it-forward Contest: Query Consultation

The Fine Print:

  • Nobody ever sold a novel on a query letter. (Yeah, I know somebody must have somewhere, but most of us don’t get struck by lightning.)
  • Since I could write a seductive query letter long before I could write a book worth reading, I always encourage people to obsess more about their manuscripts than their query letters.
  • A query letter need not be perfect, only effective.
  • However, in the process of crafting an effective query letter, we might hit on certain major deficiencies in your manuscript. For example, if we can’t synthesize a good hook, it might mean you do not have good hook for us to synthesize.
  • Eventual success on any level not guaranteed.

Okay, that said, a query letter is important. I hereby offer a snark-free e-mail consultation. You must have a query letter already written for me to critique–I won’t write it from scratch. I don’t need to read your manuscript or even a partial to help you, but chances are I will need you to fill out a questionnaire after I’m done reading your query letter to help me hone in on the set-up and the conflict.

If you only have half a book, but want to enter in the hope that you might be able to use a consultation later, that’s fine with me. Just be aware that right now I have a bit of time, later I might be on deadline again.

Notice: I don’t go easy on my critiques. Sometimes it’s important to hear that you are doing fine. Other times it’s more important to get it right.

This contest runs until March 25.

Totally unrelated but have to share: I just got an awesome review from The Romance Reader, one of the most venerable romance review sites around. I think my jaw is still bouncing around on my kitchen floor somewhere. Get this, Camden, my male protagonist from Private Arrangements is said to rank “right up there with Jamie Fraser as a hero for the ages.” I don’t know about you, but for me that was a “Holy @#$%!” moment. Jamie Fraser? Holy @#$%!

ETA: Let me know in the comments if you are interested in the query consultation. One victim winner drawn on the 25th.


25 thoughts on “Pay-it-forward Contest: Query Consultation

  1. Hi Sherry

    I completely agree with the review(as you know) but more surprising is that I agree with all their reviews for the books I’ve read. I’ve bookmarked them now. They seem to have my taste in books.

    Aren’t we just speeding toward the 25th!

  2. Hey, Sherry, that’s AWESOME about your hero being right up there with Jamie Fraser! (Imagine big sigh here) And I have to say, I’m loving the book! Oh, and toss my name in for the query consultation. I’ll take all the help I can get!

  3. I’m interested in the query consultation.

    And I can’t wait until I can get my hands on the final version of Private Arrangements!

  4. Congrats on the Romance Reader review! It makes me even more desperate to read Private Arrangements. ::sigh::

  5. Ooooh, the publication date approaches!

    And I would be most interested in the query consultation.

    Selene

  6. If you’re willing to do a query consultation for a fantasy novel, count me in. If not, that’s also fine. *g*

  7. Sherry, I hope I’m not too late. I just walked over here from the Romance Bandits. Please throw my name in the hat for a query consultation. Thanks!

  8. I’m interested in the query consultation.

    I’m waiting for my copy of PRIVATE ARRANGEMENT to arrive. It seems to take AMZ forever to ship it.

  9. Hi Sherry!
    I’m very much interested in the query letter contest. I recently queried Ms. Nelson, but she rejected me form style. I’d love to get your input on my letter to see if it was the story idea or the writing.
    Thanks so much!
    Tracy S.

  10. Hi Sherry,

    I would love to have a query consultation! And I just devoured Private Arrangements… I absolutely love it. I have the novel inked into my bloodstream, and even now as I’m typing, I remember lines and scenes from the book. It’s awesome, Sherry! Congrats!

  11. Did you just say Jamie Fraser? I lurve Jamie..the ultimate hero.

    I think I’m pretty good at queries… I got me two requests for fulls out of four sent… not bad odds, before that, and with an old query, i didn’t have such high odds. I ask some good q’s non rhetoric–since agents no-likey)but more help the merrier…

  12. Anon,

    Jamie Fraser is the hero of Outlander (Cross Stitch in UK) by Diana Gabaldon.

    I haven’t read the book myself–my agent is telling me too. But I do know that lots and lots of people luuurve Jamie Fraser, so for Camden to be compared to Jamie…woot!

  13. Jamie… sigh!

    Can’t wait to sigh for Camden!

    Sherry, you MUST read Outlander. I will warn you, however, that in 99% of cases obsession will set in, followed by days of non-stop reading. Rereading will commence for an unknown period of time – each case differs – and then withdrawal sets in. Your mood will oscillate between irritability, anxiety, depression, and anger until the next book is released.

    I, too, would love to enter the query pool, especially since my book has just undergone revisions that necessitate a new query letter.

    Also, like Tracy, I queried KN with a letter basically written off of the example on her website and received a form rejection in under 24 hours. Of course, that same query generated numerous requests for partials and fulls, so maybe it was the story she didn’t like…

    Now hie thee to a bookstore and prepare to fall in love with one James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser!

  14. Please sign me up. I’ve just started querying a new book. Maybe I should stop until I get professional help!

    And after all the raves, I’m so looking forward to PA.

  15. Hi Sherry, not sure if I have arrived in time for the query contest, (though the antipodies is a day ahead so maybe still yesterday with you -hmm confusing!) arrived at your site through Romance Readers review. Often use interesting reviews to track new authors – your book sounded great – sophisticated, fun and a heroine to match the hero. (a woman who’s lived and with secrets too!) Love the victorian period. So much change. Can’t wait to read it. Am keen for a consultation too if still time to add to the hat, or mix.

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