Monday, January 16, 2012

January Query Time: What it is

I'll spend more time on this next week, getting down into the particulars. But for an overview...

A QUERY IS a brief overview of your manuscript, a back cover blurb, designed to intrigue an agent or editor to read more, and can incorporate important highlights of your author bio.

Imagine you're looking for a job.

Haunting, I know.

You put together your resume, cover letter, and list of job opportunities. Sounding familiar? Your query is, in essence, an application.

Now, imagine you're in HR looking to hire a new employee. You have one job available and 500 applicants (we're in a recession, aren't we?). 450 go into the immediate NO pile because they're not qualified, the job is wrong for them, or something about their first few lines just turns you off. The remaining 50 dwindle after a closer look, probably for many of the same reasons above, they just weren't that obvious on the surface. Say you call 10 people back. Three never respond, one can't make the interview. 6 are left. You interview them. Maybe a second interview. Maybe you have another colleague interview them as well.

If you're lucky, one of those candidates are exactly what you're looking for. So you hire them.

How long does the average employer spend on each application if they have a stack just staring at them? Not long.

On Thursday, What a Query Isn't.

Happy writing!


Angela Cothran said...

This is a fabulous comparison. Thanks Vickie :)

Mary Weber said...

During my husband’s last year in college, he spent WEEKS writing and revising his resume, and then had it professionally critiqued and edited. Looking back now, with your post in mind, the comparison between the query letter and job application is spot on. Although…one does wonder if he’d styled it into a shapely cutout, how much swifter he would’ve received a call-back.

Me? I’m thinking of doing Fabio’s physique. *runs with scissors to fix query letter*

Fabulous explanation. :0) Thanks!

Mart Ramirez said...

They always say it was like applying for a job but I loved how you broke it down :)

KylieQ said...

I've never thought of it from that perspective before. I spend a LOT of time recruiting and I usually have several hundred job applications to sort through with each round. The first cull is always looking for reasons to say no without having to actually read so many applications and it might come down to something as vague as I didn't like the impression I got from the cover letter or they rang and pestered me before applying or they emailed me instead of applying online (attention to detail!). Anything to cut down on the time it takes me. But it's never occurred to me to consider how much that might apply to an agent reading queries. Thanks!

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