Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Got A Question? Read A Blog!

In the past couple of days, two agents have posted excellent information about queries on their blogs. At Bookends, Jessica gives us a list of phrases to reconsider—read “avoid”—in your queries. I especially like the advice not to say, “Other agents have called the book….” No, there’s no reason to point out previous rejections.

Agent Nathan Bransford has some advice about personalizing your query letter. How far can you go to appeal to the agent without appearing to be obsequious? Nathan even ranks a couple of ploys as to their appropriateness. It’s especially interesting to see him say, “For some reason I think there's an idea percolating out there that we agents want people to kiss our rings and tell us how great we are before we'll even look twice at a query.” Well, of course. So? Seriously, see what he has to say.

I’ve already said that the first blog I open each day is that of my agent, Rachelle Gardner, but I also have bookmarked in my Google Reader the blog of agent Chip MacGregor, editor-turned-agent Terry Whalin, and Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt (where, on a sidebar tab, you can find a fairly up-to-date list of literary agents who represent Christian fiction).

Should you only read agent blogs? No. There are a few editor blogs that I consult regularly. These are neat folks and they’ve been supportive of my efforts, but I don’t think I’ll list them specifically. Too much danger of leaving somebody off the list, and I want to stay in the good graces of all my editor acquaintances.

Finally there are the author blogs and web sites. My Google Reader list contains too many to mention, and I’d probably forget somebody anyway, so I won’t try to list them all here. Just surf the net and you’ll soon find lots of blogs and web sites that contain great tips for writers. It always amazes me how willing most authors (not just those writing in the Christian genre) are to share their time and expertise with others. Not like lots of other professions.

Well, that’s my bit of advice for today. Now it’s time to put what I’ve learned to work. Go and do thou likewise. But come on back. I may have something useful to say again soon.

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