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The Perfect Writer Biography for a Query

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Resume

Your Resume. Be sure to attach it to your query.

 

Last week I promised the perfect biography paragraph for a query that’d incorporate the ten best things to mention about yourself in your query. I couldn’t forget the most important part of the perfect query formula, either. Well, after much editing and pizazz-ing, here you are:

My name is Jessica Lei. I turned 22 several days ago–can’t believe you missed my birthday, but I’ll forgive you. When you’re my agent, I won’t be so nice. I started writing when I was 12. I posted my work at an online community and received a lot of attention. I never finished any of it, though, but it was just kiddy stuff anyway. I’ve been writing since then but I’ve never been published. That’s probably because I haven’t tried yet. The novel I’m pitching to you now took me a month to write. Another one took me a month and a half. The one I’m working on now, the sequel to this book I’m querying you about, should be done in a week. Let me know if you want to read that, too.

I graduated high school three years ago. I’m currently attending a private university in Seattle, Washington. My book takes place in the Pacific Northwest so I know all about it and I can portray it accurately, unlike other famous authors who’ve placed their book here and didn’t actually visit until after they made a lot of money. Whatever! I’ll be graduating with a psychology major and an English minor this spring. Exciting, right? After I get out of this hellhole, I can write books a lot faster. I can make you a lot of money, I promise.

I researched a lot about my book. It’s set all over the world so I looked up pictures on Google and researched on Wikipedia. I’ve also been e-stalking you for the past few months. I know a lot about you and I’m querying you because I know you’d be my perfect agent. I also know all about your agency and your preferences, and how you’d like your submissions. I’ve included all the materials you asked for, and a bit more just in case. I like to cover my bases. This way I can assure you I’ve done my research and I’m qualified to write a book.

I’m not published or self-published or e-published. I have a blog where I’ve posted at least 15 articles on querying and getting published and writing a bestseller. I wrote several essays while I’ve been in college. My most recent was a reflection essay on substance abuse. Before that, I wrote about Shelley’s Frankenstein and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the ethics of child electroconvulsive therapy, women in Buddhist films, a research project on the effects of children on the emotion regulation of college students, and a literature review on single parenthood. I do not keep a diary, but my blog is located here: http://jddeshaw.wordpress.com. I’ve attached it all to this e-mail, including all of my blog entries, if you’d like to take a look to verify my writing abilities.

I worked for Starbucks for over 3 years but I quit to start volunteering and interning at a local research university in Seattle. I’m currently interning for [researcher, redacted] at [university department]. I do a lot of data entry, organizing, literary searches, and tracking (a form of stalking). I’ve babysat and worked at daycares as well. So, on top of the whole high school thing, I can probably write MG as well as YA. I’ve asked previous teachers, bosses, professors, and friends to write me letters of recommendation. I have attached them for your perusal.

I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Jessica Lei

Well, there you have it! In case you missed it, here’s the key take-away:

Make sure your author biography is longer than your book summary. You are more important than your book!

We’re also looking for a few queries to critique on the blog–no harsh words or biting criticism, we promise. We are not experts, but we have an opinion and sometimes that’s good enough. If you’re struggling and would like a friendly opinion, send it in! You can find our email on the Contact page.

Written by Jessica Lei

October 19, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Humor, Queries

10 Things to Mention About Yourself in Your Query

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Who Are You?

Who Are You?

Often times I wonder why the bibliography paragraph of a query is even necessary. If I’m a psychopath but my story is absolutely addicting, would I still end up being represented? Reality is: probably not. So, the bibliography is necessary so your maybe-agents can see you’re both sane and qualified to write. Here’s what I suggest you include:

  1. Your age.
  2. The age you started writing at (the earlier, the better).
  3. The time it took you to write the novel.
  4. If you graduated high school.
  5. If you graduated from a technical or vocational school.
  6. If you graduated with any degrees from an undergraduate college or university.
  7. If you graduated with any degrees from a graduate college or university.
  8. If you researched extensively on everything pertaining to your book, yourself, the agent, how to write a query, and how to write a book.
  9. Your last 15 books (unpublished, self-published, or published), articles, essays, blog posts, and diary entries. Attach if necessary.
  10. Your resume, including all of your past job experience. Feel free to include a few recommendation letters. Attach if necessary.

A perfect biography paragraph for a query will be next week, so check back!

We’re also looking for a few queries to critique on the blog–no harsh words or biting criticism, we promise. We are not experts, but we have an opinion and sometimes that’s good enough. If you’re struggling and would like a friendly opinion, send it in! You can find our email on the Contact page.

Written by Jessica Lei

October 12, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Humor, Queries

This Week’s Research

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Enough said.

Look out for future Friday Inspiration posts, because they’ll happen and you’ll be inspired. Starting next week!

Written by Jessica Lei

October 8, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Humor

The Perfect Query

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As promised, here is the Perfect Query (PQ) for Query Tuesdays. If you don’t remember the formula, check back to last week’s post!

Without further ado:

Melinda Melin

Melinda Melin, The Five-Year-Old Vampire

Dear Mister Miss Agent,

Melinda Melin was five years old when a vampire saw her playing in the park on the swingset. The vampire was very thirsty and desperate, and Melinda’s blood was too sweet to pass up for the starving monster. Not only did the vampire take Melinda’s life and soul, it kidnapped her.

Sir Douglas Froyd is an ancient vampire, one of the very first vampires to ever exist. No, it wasn’t Dracula; the very first vampire was his older brother, Herald Froyd, who shared his discovery to his unknowing little brother. They were both turned and with their new abilities, started molding a dark and deadly world.

Five thousand years later, Douglas and Herald had a fight tried to kill each other. It could’ve been merely sibbling rivalry, but Douglas and Herald had both ruled the vampire world together–and not here wasn’t room enough for them both anymore. Douglas was thrown out of the vampire world and Herald ruled alone.

Over the next thousand years, Douglas hid from the vampires. He struggled day to day to simply survive in the shadows and on the blood of animals. Then he spotted her. A little girl with blood sweater than sugar. He had to take her, and he did.

He raised her to succeed him, because he could tell the vampire community was stirring. There was rebellion in the air and he wanted nothing to do with it–but the vampires wouldn’t care what he wanted. He shared all of his memories, and therefore himself, with the young girl. This way, he would continue to live within her and his brother, dead or alive, would never know the difference.

Five hundred years later, Melinda is still the vampire’s assistant. She goes out nightly and procures a new speciman for her vampire master. They drink together and then her master relives his days to her verbally. Then the unthinkable happens and he dies.

For a hundred years, Melinda doesn’t know what to do with her new freedom. She still looks five, but she’s over six hundred years old. She had thought her master was kind of like her father and now he’s dead. She continues her life as if he was still there, until a group of vampires come knocking at her door.

She answers sweetly but she knows that she can’t hide her master’s rotting body. The smell is too strong. Not only the decay, but his pure blood. They tell her that she became the successor to his legacy because he shared all of his memories with her; now his memories are hers, and he is living inside her.

MELINDA MELIN THE FIVE YEAR OLD VAMPIRE is a 160,000-word YA paranormal action adventure novel about a young girl who has to cope with growing up and maturing despite her young appearance. It also follows her as she takes on her late vampire master’s will and takes up a position in the vampire council. The book is mysterious and dangerous and shows a secret and hidden world where vampires are majestic and ruthless. It’s like The Da Vinci Code, The Golden Compass, and Twilight wrapped all into one. I could add wizards and it’d have a touch of Harry Potter in it too.

Melinda must be strong when she realizes the vampires aren’t really welcoming her into the council to play nice and fair. They’re actually waiting for her to make a mistake and kill her. They hated her master, and now they hate her.

What is she going to do?

I look forward to hearing your answer. This is my first novel. I’ve been writing stories since I learned how to type and I haven’t stopped since. I recently went on a road trip and found inspiration in Forks, WA and decided that I could try to get published. I hope you love this book as much as everyone else loved it!

Sincerely,
Melinda Melin

P.S. My cat died yesterday and I don’t think I can take a mean rejection, so I’m begging you to just give me good news. My father also owns a gun and we have your agency’s address. He doesn’t like seeing his princess cry!

Written by Jessica Lei

September 28, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Humor, Queries

This Week’s Research

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Louis C.K. is hilarious and he’s totally right. Dan Krokos legitimately found this first–I should give credit where credit is due because it is so hard to find good entertainment on the Internets these days if you’re lazy like I am–but it’s too true. People these days are so unappreciative.

Remember when people had to mail in their queries and their sample pages? Now they complain when an agent hasn’t gotten back to them in a week. Well, just be happy they received your query almost instantly. AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO PAY FOR IT. Egads, what is this chaos! Free and fast?! The horror!

For the record, my mother thinks high speed internet is slow. It’s high speedHigh speed.

Written by Jessica Lei

September 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Humor, Research

The DOs and DON’Ts of Word Economy

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Money Tree

The Holy Money Tree

It is Thursday and that means a topic on writing! I’ve never never ever been so routinely in my entire life. Let’s see how it works (and pray that it does).

I picked up this term from literary agent Noah Lukeman while I read his free e-book on writing queries. It’s from 2005 but some of it still applies. Funny how things don’t change! (Yes. It’s sad.)

America’s economy may be going south, but your word economy can be going up!

DO:

Use three–or four–or five six seven EIGHT NINE TEN words, even if you only need one. Words are like money and the more you spend, the better things you will have!

DON’T:

Pare down. EVER! Never settle for less.

DO:

Write as much as you can in one day. Writing is a job and you’ll make more money if you write more in one day. If you can’t write over 5,000 words in a single sitting because other things get in the way: QUIT EVERYTHING ELSE. Your coffee, your work, your husband, and your kids. QUIT THEM.

DON’T:

Limit your writing time! Writers who only write for 30 minutes a day are weak. No one who succeeds only puts in 30 minutes a day!

DO:

Have a high word count. Bill Gates has how much money? You need that many words.

DON’T:

Go below 100,000 words. Words work like money! It’s a shame when you make less than $100,000 a year and it is therefore a travesty if your novel is less than that. For shame, for shame.

Now that you have these handy tips, start investing in your money economy! Make bank! Hurry!

Written by Jessica Lei

September 23, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Humor, Writing

The Query Formula

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Tuesdays are for queries! Yes! A whole day for querying! Wait. NO! Just a post. Just one post is all I can handle. Queries scare me, just like cute five-year-old vampire girls. But that’s for next week.

Queries need to tell the story. It is supposed to, as the lovely Dictionary.com says, outline the proposed piece in letter format.

The Query Formula

  1. Back story. You have to reveal what went on before the story starts or people will be confused. If you skip out on back story, then the query will start at the beginning of your novel. No one does that in a query. That’s what you do in a synopsis.
  2. Summarize everything that happens before the conflict. That way, when the last line comes, they want to know what the conflict is so they’ll read your story. But do not reveal the actual conflict. Don’t reveal the stakes, either. The agent will want to read your story based on what they think the conflict will be–you see, they want to know if they’re right or not!
  3. Give the work’s title and word count. You might want to fib a bit on the word count because the more words you’ve written, the more impressive your work is. I suggest starting your query with this information or putting it right smack in the middle of the query so it stands out and creates flow.
  4. Describe the work’s genre with as many words as you can. Agents like cross-genre works and the more genres you tag onto your novel the more likely they’ll take it on.
  5. Close with a line about your credentials, as a person. This business is very personal, so you better be personal. Tell them about your family and friends and the hardships you went through as you wrote it. This agent needs to like you in order to represent you!
  6. Great formatting. Show some pizazz. Bolding, italicizing, and underlining are the best way to stand out. Strikethrough is rising in popularity, too!

Stay tuned next week for the Perfect Query (PQ).

Written by Jessica Lei

September 21, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Humor, Queries

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