Writers who are ready to query can be overzealous sometimes. In their excitement and in their quest to have the “perfect” query, sometimes it’s the simplest things that make an agent scratch his or her head. While these things are rarely make-or-break for the query itself, you might want to re-think saying you did the following:
1) Enclose a SASE with your e-query. I’m sure you read all over the internet that agents won’t even respond to queries that don’t have a SASE enclosed. Going down your check list of what you need in a query, it makes perfect sense to remember your SASE – but remember which method you’re sending the query.
2) Write “(sign)” after your name as if you wrote your signature. You didn’t do this. We can see that you didn’t do this.
3) Write a fictional novel. Well, maybe you did. I mean, who hasn’t mapped out an entire novel in their minds? But you really shouldn’t query unless you put that idea down on paper.
4) Write a non-fiction novel. “Novel,” by definition, is a work of fiction.
5) Write a 10,000 word novel. This does not work in any genre or age group.
6) Write a 200,000 word MG. If you did, then chances are it’s actually a four-book series that you combined into one. Or you’re George R.R. Martin trying to mess with people.
7) Send a query letter to “Mr. Curtis Brown.” This one is specific to my agency, I know. But I see it all the time. Yes, there was a real Curtis Brown. No, he is not still alive. No, I am not “Mrs. Brown,” let alone Curtis himself.
Have any of you ever made any “common sense” mistakes you care to share?