Saturday, August 20, 2011

Going Indie? Then write that query

I had a thought, one I thought was a rather good idea (apparently so did MB over at Keystrokes and Word Counts.) One thing every writer dreads is the query letter to agents. A writer can pump out a brilliant 90K novel and struggle to write a 200-400 word query on it. It's no surprise either. How do you summarize a story that has so much happening? How do you find the main theme? How do you write and make it so the agent can't say no? Of course, if you're going indie and self publishing you don't have to worry about that right?


Do you really think that just because you're not dealing with agents and publishers that queries are beyond you? Think about it. You need to fill in a description on Amazon, Good Reads, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. You want to tell the reader what your story is about. And let's face it, if the description is boring, the reader isn't going to click buy, they are going to click the next, back or the X to close the window.

In my humble opinion, what's on the back of a book and queries are almost the same thing. You are pitching your story, trying to get the person to do more than just look. You want a sale and that summary is the key to that. I have seen a few authors talk queries, they have posted their queries to their agents and you know what I noticed? Those queries are nearly identical to what's on the back of their book! Coincident? Maybe.

But maybe not. Maybe if you are an indie author it's a wise idea to approach your summary like a query. Go to Query Shark and read through the queries, submit your summary as a query. Get it critiqued, edit it, critique it again and edit some more. Keep at it until you feel like that summary will make the reader salivate to read your book, make it so they can't say no, get that sale! Put as much thought into your summary/query as you do your story because it's just as important. If not more.


  1. Heh well you know my feelings on this. Do it people! It's still a necessary evil you can't escape! MUAHHAHAHAAH!

  2. Good post. Yes, queries are just like blurbs. We do have to get good at them. :)