Pages pages everywhere, none of which were asked for

Argh. I’ve received five queries today, three of which were short on any detail about the book and long on…well…pages. In one case, I received the first three chapters…all embedded in the email. The other two included their foreword and a chapter, also embedded in the email.


If I want to find out what the stories are about, I have to read the included pages. Not gonna happen. That’s why God invented query letters. These are one-page glories that tell us what we need to know in order to formulate a decision as to whether it fits in with our lineup. And what we’d like to see is this:

1. Logline (optional) / genre/ word count
2. Pitch: What does the protagonist want? What’s keeping him from getting it? What choice/decision does he face? What terrible thing will happen if he chooses A; what terrible thing will happen if he doesn’t.
3. Bio: A smattering about you
• Why you wrote the book
• Book’s unique qualities
• Connects with a specific audience
• Future books, plans for career

If all you do is send pages thinking we’ll read it, then you’re in for a wee bit of a surprise. Don’t be surprised…be armed and dangerous!

3 Responses to Pages pages everywhere, none of which were asked for

  1. Lev Raphael says:

    I love helping other authors with their queries because people find it hard to sell themselves. And speaking of pages….. I sent a query to an editor I’d worked with who passed it on to someone else it his house who said., Sounds great! Send pages! I sent only 20 because that was enough for the full flavor of the project. The editor took THREE months to read them. That’s one of the things that makes writers crazy. Three months to read 20 pp.–and at a house I’d already published with.

  2. Lev, that is, indeed, insane. I’d expect to get better “service” from my own freaking publisher. As for the three month thing to read pages, I plead guilty. I have no explanation other than there are times when I get really busy and I have to put aside my reading days to attend to other things.

  3. Bill Webb says:

    You really want to know about future books and plans for a wrtier’s career? Waddya need a sentence, a paragraph, or should the writer just insert the Lord’s Prayer?

    Is a proper future not be rejected 118 times? Is it a sequel to the one I am querying now? I mean, come one, all our future plans are to be on the best seller list, but the best we can hope for is you’ll read the query all the way through. By the time you get to the “my future part” I’ll bet youlve already decided it.



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