Tuesday’s Industry News:Nathan Bransford’s Query Advice

Hello everyone! First let me say thank you to everyone who has said good things about Riding Double. I will be announcing the winner of my retweet contest and commenter contest today sometime.

All right onto today’s industry news topic: Queries. Oh how we love to hate them. I am sometimes referred to as the query queen or submission goddess(ok so I made that one up) because I usually don’t hesitate to hit that send button and release my newest baby to the world.ย  So today as I was surfing the web trying to decide on what my topic would be I found a nice blog post by agent Nathan Bransford. I’m getting back into query mode so it helps me to read blogs by agents/editors to see what is going on it their world and well Nathan Bransford is telling us all about queries.


Focus your query on the work you are currently shopping and devote the majority of the words in the query to it.

Sometimes when writers have experienced a taste of writing success they feel this is going to carry the day in a query and focus almost exclusively on those accomplishments.

For instance, all of these things are good, solid writing accomplishments that you should be proud of:

– being accepted to and/or graduating from an MFA program
– placing in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition
– placing short stories with prestigious journals
– being nominated for a Pushcart
– self-publishing and receiving praise from strangers

Congrats! Very well done. But none of these things, at least for me, are going to result in a partial request on their own, and I wouldn’t make these accomplishments the focal point of a query.

Even if someone had a great deal of success and had been published and sold a lot of copies, I still need to connect with the current project the author is shopping if we’re going to successfully work together. That current project is what I want to know about. It’s what I’m going to be basing my decision on.

Yes, mention your accomplishments, but your current project should be the star of the show.


Ok, I think this answers alot of questions I hear from people. Yes we can mention things but lets not make those the total focus. The story has to shine in the query or the other stuff is pointless. Hope this helped everyone.


9 Responses

  1. I think my query has maybe 3 lines about me in it while I devote three paragraphs to the story. I’m glad that’s what they actually want, lol, because when it comes to queries, I’m clueless. It’s a good thing I don’t have accomplishments to crow about, bwahaha

  2. The submission goddess? Who knew… ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously, great post!

  3. Thanks for keeping us up to date, Sayde. Especially knowing you have a lot of writing to do on your plate!

    And does my Goddess wish incense or flowers as a token of esteem? lol You have my vote!

    Thanks, Cowgirl! We appreciated it! Can’t wait to hear the sales numbers on the new release!

  4. YEP! you are a goddess, extra ordinaire!!

    I’m with Danica- 2 sentences on myself, 3 paragraphs on the story. So, we must at least be doing that part right.

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