brev-i-ty n. 1. Briefness of duration. 2. Concise expression; terseness.
That's today's word, boys and girls, and I'd like you to think of it when you compose a query.
I've spent the last few days (other than a 3-day break at the beach) trying to work through the queries that have built up over the summer. I'm finally putting June to bed and will be done with July soon, I wager. I've rejected many, which is just how these things work.
When Jon and I reject queries that don't interest us, that's not a fault of the query. Many of these are well-written, but the topics just don't grab us. Sometimes we like a query very much, but don't think we can sell the book. In the past few days I've rejected queries about child prostitutes, lots of teenage super heroes, an adult fairy tale, a mislead preacher, short story collections (we don't represent short stories), and four queries sent to me and scads of other agents as listed in the "To" box, which is an automatic turn-off and DELETE. Many of these queries were quite well-written and compelling, just off-topic for me.
But, lately, I've been slogging through l-o-n-g queries, consisting of many paragraphs that require much attention just to get to the point of the thing. I know I've mentioned this before, but it's so important, it's worth another discussion.
It's September first. Autumn is on the way. Time to act like a writer and make a promise that you will remember how many queries agents read each day. Then edit your content to make your query a stand-out. Remember the word of the day: BREVITY!