I’m now beginning to get replies from my second series of queries, and I have to face the music: what I’m doing is not working very well.
On the positive side, it’s my query that seems to be the problem, not my manuscript. And I have inklings of what is wrong.
First, my query didn’t include an author bio. That may not seem like a big thing (and it probably isn’t the main reason my queries keep failing,) but including a quick line about me probably makes the letter a bit more relatable. And it’s something that I should have remembered: people are much more likely to give you a chance if they like you.
That’s easy to remedy, too: it’s easy to integrate a line or two that turn my impersonal query in a personal email. It’s a small-cost, high-impact change.
But the lack of a bio isn’t the big issue, I think. The major problem is that I didn’t state comparables. I’m probably too modest for my own good, and by ignoring comps I’m making it a lot harder to understand what story I’m offering, and it’s also ignoring the opportunity to sell my book.
Comparables are tricky, however. If I had to pick just one, I’d say my book most resembles the Dresden Files. But that’s a major series, and obviously some could find it a bit presumptuous that I want to compare my freshman novel to a beloved, fifteen-books-and-change opus. It’s not my intention: I really do think that my book is similar in structure, and style, to Fool Moon or Grave Peril.
But I’m going to try it, at least for one round of querying. Hopefully, it’ll hook more people than it’ll turn off. We’ll see!