I’m sensing a pattern at the Ball this week and, as it turns out, I won’t be the one to break it.
I, too, obtained my agent without a query – though I have several years (and four trunk manuscripts) worth of queries in my past, so I can speak to the topic from experience.
Like Deb Kelly, I found the query an excellent vehicle for distilling my novel’s essence. Whether you call it a hook, a logline, or “that annoying two-line jacket-style summary you use to open the query,” it’s an irreplaceable tool for knowing your work.
In fact, my query got me my agent, even though she never actually read it.
I discovered my agent, Sandra Bond, before I realized I was a mystery author (my first novels were straight historical fiction). After reading this blog describing Sandra’s talk to a writers’ group I told myself, “if I ever start writing mystery, that’s the agent I want to query.”
Two years later, I’d jumped the fence and landed firmly in the mystery camp. In September 2011 Sandra was scheduled to speak and take pitches at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Conference.* I was also presenting that year – a Master’s Class on contracts and a regular session class on publishing law. I didn’t get a pitch appointment with Sandra, but I ran into her at the presenter’s dinner (and didn’t pitch, though we had a great conversation) and again after the Saturday banquet (when I DID pitch, and she requested the manuscript).
Like my ninja detective, Hiro, I don’t believe in coincidence – but I do believe in acting on opportunity.
I had prepared the two-line summary for my query before I left for Colorado Gold, and I’m glad I did.
But for having my query ready, I wouldn’t have been prepared when the moment came.
Have you ever benefited from a query – or any other preparation – in unexpected ways? I’d love to hear about it, or about your query stories, in the comments!
*A note to those wondering whether lightning could ever strike twice: Sandra will be back at Colorado Gold in September 2013 – and I’ll be there too, this time signing copies of CLAWS OF THE CAT. I’d love to see you all there!