After the manuscript is complete...
When the manuscript is complete, edited, and reviewed, we are ready to conquer the query. This seems easy, doesn't it. compared to writing the story? Maybe not.
Articles about queries say they have a required format - three paragraphs - one with name, size, gendre; one which provides a summary of our novel; and the final one, our credentials - publications, connection to other authors of the same gendre, etc. The first and third paragraphs are simple, factual, but the summary... now that's the show stopper. How do we describe an 80,000 word manuscript in one paragraph, in words that will make an agent reading it say, "Wow, I need this manuscript on my list."
Well, so far I haven't discovered the secret. I have drafted, rephrased and reworded the traditional query until I thought my fingers just wouldn't cooperate any more. Still having no success with it and thinking my story worthy of a look by an agent, I've started stepping out of the box. What I have learned is that even though agents may say they like that format, they react differently when I go right into the story... blow them away right in the beginning and then fill in the blanks later. They are busy people with many, many queries in their inboxes, so maybe, just maybe, reading about the story, characters right away will save them some time - they like it or they don't. It's all so subjective, especially for us first time authors.
I would like to hear from others who have had success or not, or agents who might provide us guidance as to what they are looking for in the query. I have come down to a back cover description in my query.
I'm still out there -- kissing a lot of frogs, looking for my prince.