Have you ever been brought to your knees by 300-400 words?
Truth be told, I have.
Ahh ... the dreaded query letter. A three-paragraph email sent to an agent or editor with a single purpose: to entice them to read your book proposal or manuscript.
The first time I queried agents for Graveyard of Safe Choices, my memoir about reclaiming myself at midlife, was in the winter of 2021. I had set a deadline for myself to have queries sent before I turned 60.
I met my deadline. Hooray!
But my queries were met with form rejections or silence. A sign that the query was NOT working—no one, apparently, wanted to read more.
I went back to revise the query—and ultimately the manuscript.
You see, an unsuccessful query isn't always just about the query: often it reveals problems with the manuscript.
When your query is fuzzy and vague, it can indicate that you really don't know what your book is about.