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on a Sunday and you think, All the right things are wrong with this chick.Dear Agent: Is it absolutely necessary to have a platform in order to attract an agent for a novel?That is a preface to say: Ground yourself; this one might be a molar-shaker.Sometimes it really is only, say, four seconds; a first line can close it down for me (e.g., the one I got that opened with, “What if it was your job to kill babies? Often the deal breaker is elsewhere in the first paragraph, when I see yet another Hezbollah/North Korea/China terrorist thriller plot, or an estranged daughter coming back to the small town to deal with her ailing mother, expose family secrets and rekindle love with her high school flame.You nailed it: There’s gold in them there query hills.
With a client list of about 40–45 now, even if I dedicate just an hour a week to each of those authors I’ve already committed to, I am at capacity for a “normal” workweek. But I hear what you’re saying—and I feel the burning shame, I promise. This prepares you for when you’re one of my clients and you get an email from me with a time stamp of, like, 2 a.m.
When WD then approached me and asked if I’d be willing to answer a selection of those questions in print—and to do so with a level of candor that writers would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere—I applauded their creativity and immediately grabbed my thinking cap (read: flask) and dove in.
I found the questions to be insightful, and I hope I did the responses justice.
But average time per query aside, I can assure you this: I do look at ’em all.
Dear Agent: I and other aspiring writers have sent queries to agents and never heard a thing in response, not even a formulaic “not interested.” This appears downright rude to me.