I've sent about a billion queries. I've been agented. I've gotten full requests and some really lovely rejections. I might not be able to help you with being published, but I can make your query life easier.

Here's a thread:
1. In the word doc of your FULL MANUSCRIPT, go to File-->Properties-->Summary and change the doc title, the author name, and paste your elevator pitch into the summary. All this data transfers to kindles and other e-readers for when agents/editors are reading your pages.
2. AFTER you do step one, hit "save as" and title it:


Do not send off "draft 14 final.doc(1)(1)(2)" to an agent.

Also, at this stage: add page numbers and your doc title/author name to the header/footer of the doc
3. AFTER you do steps 1&2, hit "save as" and save the following versions:

MANUSCRIPT TITLE - 10 pgs - Author Name
MANUSCRIPT TITLE - 3 chs - Author Name
MANUSCRIPT TITLE - 50 pgs - Author Name
MANUSCRIPT TITLE - 100 pgs - Author Name
3a. There might be SOME variation, but these files will cover about 99% of agent/editor requests

3b. Paste your query letter on the first page of the 50-page, 100-page, and full doc. When agents open your doc weeks/months from now, query letter is a reminder of why they req'd
3c. When chopping into 10-page or 50-page chunks, get to the end of a sentence or paragraph, finish your thought. If the best cut point is at 49.25 pages, or at 50.75, that's fine. Don't sweat the tiny stuff.

(don't send 100 pgs when they ask for 50; that's not a "tiny" diff)
4. Do the same formatting for your 2-page synopsis and your 5-page synopsis (that you've already written, before you start querying, just trust me)

(You can hire @BriannaShrum to write your synopses, if you hate writing them.)
5. Use my query tracking spreadsheet:

It keeps track of who you've queried, their response times, and calculates averages and how many you have outstanding, etc.

Space for MSWL notes and what materials you've sent, to help judge what's tripping you up.
6. Some agents want data first, some want you to jump straight into the story. Customize it when you can, and when they don't specify, go with your gut and trust yourself.

Some have opinions on salutations. If you can't find specifics, fall back on "Dear Mr/Ms/Mx Last Name"
7. Don't send attachments unless someone asks for them specifically. Everything should be pasted into the email or the querytracker form

8. If the agent says, "Query Letter Only" - they mean it. If they don't, then paste your first ten pages in (no attachments). Can't hurt.
9. Once you start querying - STOP TINKERING. If you revise your MS after you start querying, every single rejection will make you go "Hmmmm, but if they had the NEW VERSION, they might say yes!" and

THAT WAY MADNESS LIES. You can't re-query in those circumstances. Move on.
9a. start working on something else. stave off the tinkering. outline book two in the series, draft a new project, critique someone else's work, revive a trunk novel, research other agents/editors, write a palate-cleansing short story
10. No response means no = wait until their expected response time is up, add two weeks, then cross them off the list. No nudging.

No means no from all = don't query a second agent at that agency

No response time listed? Assume 12 wks.
If you have other questions about finding resources or the nuances of being in the trenches, I'm happy to share everything I've found.

#amwriting #amquerying
Le sigh. Time for the disclaimers:
- you do not have to pursue an agent, choose your own path, have fun
- YMMV, advice is never universal
- lots of this advice is meant to make *your* life easier, eliminating the “oh no did I mess it up?!” questions that keep you up at night
Another good piece of advice from @AnnetteLyon for #amquerying folks https://twitter.com/annettelyon/status/1380726255037739014
You can follow @ginad129.
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