Querying can be a lot of fun. At least that’s my theory when it comes to querying picture book stories. How to do it? Accept the premise that when you query, you’re advertising yourself. So channel your inner “Mad Men”–1960s cocktails optional–and let’s begin…
1. Individualized opening
Many posts suggest you match your story to an editor/agent tastes; to follow-up on contacts that you’ve made at conferences or workshops. Good advice, follow it. Begin with where you may have met. Then, if through prior research, you’ve learned of mutual acquaintances, or of an award for one of their books etc., mention it. BRIEFLY.
TITLE – (all caps)
Then use the following elements in any order:
QUOTE – I think it’s a good idea to quote the first couple of lines of your manuscript. You’ve worked hard to make those opening lines page turners, use them now to give immediate exposure to your voice.
Then craft 2 to 5 lines to cover the
PREMISE and/or QUESTION – that hints at the plot; and
INVITATION – to find out more
Here’s a synopsis for one of my own stories as an example:
It was a very boring day, nothing to do; nothing to play until…
”Grandpa, there’s a rhino in the den!”
But what can one small boy do as more and more rhinos appear and run wild in his Grandpa’s once neat and orderly living room? Find out in this rollicking counting book that’s totally preposterous and full of surprises!
3. Individualized goodbye
A bit of humor here, if that’s your style, and it relates to your story and the agent/editors guidelines.
A thank you for their time and consideration.
Now, if you were Don Draper, you would do something morally questionable to celebrate. But, the best thing for you to do? Send out another query. And another. Then forget about them and start writing a new story…
When you do get some interest, contact the others you queried and let them know, because once one individual is interested, others follow suit.
It’s, like, “Far-out, man,” But true!
J. M. DiVerdi has loved reading, writing and a clever turn of phrase her entire life. She’s written about cookies and for children, a perfect combo if there ever was one. She is thrilled to be a client of Linda P. Epstein’s at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, indisputable proof, by the way, that her Query Theory works!