Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dating That Agent: First Contact

On this journey of an aspiring author, I keep hearing the dating to marriage analogy.

The query is that first contact. It's like passing the Check Yes or No* note that says, "Do you want to go out sometime?"

So here's some DO's and DONT's I'm learning when it comes to that first contact (and sending a query):

DO get the guy's name right. DON'T address his brother, or worse his sister. And DON'T misspell it. Oh yeah, and DON'T just say "Dear Cute Boy," because that would seriously turn the guy off. (In other words, research the agent and address him or her directly.)

DON'T start out with weak small talk, "I know you're really busy with football and everything so if you don't want to, I'll totally understand..." DO get straight to the point, "Hey you want to go out?" (In other words, avoid openings in your query like, "May I interest you..." or "Please consider representing me...")

DO make the first date sound interesting. DON'T just say, "How about a dinner and a movie?" Instead try, "Hey, I hear Great Title is coming out, do you like Sci-Fi? And then afterwards we could try that new restaurant on Main Street." (In other words, start your letter with the hook, and keep them interested, until the only logical next step is to say, "Yes, I want to read more!")

DON'T say, "I'm asking you out because you won the championship and you've got a really cute butt." DO talk about what relevant to the date, "I heard you like Manly Goodact, and he's the star of Great Title. I like him, too. You want to go together?" (In other words, concentrate on why the editor might be interested in your book and why you are person to write it.)

Definitely DON'T say, "I'm looking for a man that I can settle down with and have five kids" - even if it's true. DO, with caution, hint that you are hoping this will go somewhere. (In other words, avoid talking about what you are looking for in an agent/client relationship, but you might mention that you are working on a sequel or that this could be the first of a series.)

DON'T say, "BTW, I'm sending this note to other guys," but DO say if others have asked you out. That way you won't be cheating on him. (In other words, avoid saying that this query is not exclusive, but if an agent contacts you, have courtesy to tell the other agents you've queried.)

DO invite him to contact you if he's interested, "Call or text at XXX-XXXX." DON'T hound the guy, "Did you get my note? What's your answer?" (In other words, be sure to conclude with a professional "If you want to read more, you can reach me at" and wait - patiently - for an answer. If you can't be patient, learn to pretend. :) )

So there are my tips for Dating That Agent. Is there something you don't agree with? Let me know in the comments.

*Song by George Strait