As promised on Tuesday in the word count query stats: things you don’t need to include in a query.
I know it’s difficult to stare at a blank screen trying to decide what to include and what not to include in a query. Is it necessary to convey a love of writing? What about positive feedback? There’s a limited number of words in an ideal query and a whole lot that needs to be conveyed.
Here is a list of things I don’t need to see in a query. There are exceptions to most of these rules, so, in the end, use your best judgment. But hopefully this list will help you wield the delete button wisely:
I don’t need to know…
– How long it took you to write your manuscript
– How long you researched your manuscript
– How many manuscripts you’ve written besides the ones you’re querying about
– Your Amazon Breakthrough PW Review (please see comments section for explanation)
– How much you love to write
– Your age (unless you’re under 18 or if your age is otherwise relevant to the manuscript)
– How much your friends, family, local schoolkids, a paid editor, strangers, and/or anyone else who is not a published author loved your manuscript
– Quotes from anyone who loved your novel, except perhaps for one or two brief quotes from a published author (don’t forget I’m taking these with a grain of salt)
– Any rejection letters or references to rejection letters or quotes from rejection letters no matter how positive the person was when they were rejecting you
– What you think the cover should look like
– What publishing houses you think would be a good fit
– A promise that your book will make the bestseller list and/or sell a million copies
– That you’ve had health and/or mental health problems (unless it specifically relates to the manuscript)
– The moral of your novel
– The themes of your novel (this should be clear from the description of the plot)
– More than two paragraphs of plot description (keep it concise!)
– That you’re willing to send a synopsis or outline if I ask for one (I don’t generally ask for these, but I’m assuming that if an agent asks you’re gonna provide one).
– That your manuscript is completely different than anything that’s ever been published (that’s basically impossible)
– Apologies for wasting my time (you’re not… er, unless your query is too long)
UPDATE: Jennifer Jackson has supplemented this list with some additional things to leave out.