Friday, July 25, 2014


I'm not writing today to share advice. I'm asking you to share it with me (well, us). I have to admit that as a teacher of journalism, published journalist, playwright, and personal historian, I am pretty comfortable with my writing skills. Hey, there is always more to learn, but I feel like I have solid footing there.

What I am truly, desperately, profoundly lacking in is even the desire to query when it comes to some of my children's stories. I am so fond of them that I'm almost terrified to let them out into the world—the cliche overly protective mother. And thus, without having had to practice, I am still not happy with or comfortable with writing query letters.

Yes, I have the books. I know the structure. I know the rules and recommendations. But I would love to hear what you, Utah children's writers, my fellows in the trenches, have learned from your own experiences with query letters.

What was the best advice you received on writing queries? How do you decide whom to query first? Do you dare "menage a queri" (you know, in multiples)? What little tricks have helped you write or even want to write these nasty little oversimplified descriptions of your precious darlings? (Ahem.) That is to say, when staring down the Writer's Market, where do you focus your efforts?

When it comes to queries, what has worked, or conversely, what would would you never ever do again? Give us your best, worst, funniest query stories.


Julie Daines said...

The thing about queries is that if you are familiar with their structure and the guidelines from the agent/editor you're querying, the next step seems to be getting feedback on them from other writers.

There's a lot you can learn from other people's opinions.

Liz Sorenson said...

I am no-where close to an expert on this, but I try not to stress too much about it - mostly because it shows if you are trying too hard. When I write, I am tapping into my goofy side and usually hamming things up a bit. So I try to use that voice when I write my query letters. I query the place that I think is most likely to accept it first (I really try to target the right publisher), then I will do multiples after that. Good luck!

Tabitha Thompson said...

Thanks, Julie and Liz! Great things to keep in mind!