How to fix a query

How to fix a query

how to fix a query So you got rejected a lot, huh? So none of the feedback was glorious?

That’s okay, you can fix this. Check out how to write a query to get the basics. Now let’s get to it.

Figure out what your book is about.

Who is the main character, and what is his goal? Who/what is preventing him from obtaining that goal, and what now must he do to get back on track?

Go to writing websites and read query critique comments.

What information are they suggesting to change, add, delete?

Look at the first version of the query in question, and then the second version. Read every version until you get to the last. Whatever information didn’t make it is likely useless.

Come back to your query and apply those suggestions, while bearing in mind that some suggestions are genre and category specific (specifying age, gender, love interest, world/planet, race/species, religion…). Decide what’s pertinent and drop what isn’t.

Think about how much to give.

Find the sweet spot between vague and too specific. Immerse readers in the setting without building the world.

Consider the stakes and make us care.

It’s so easy to make the stakes SUPER HIGH. If Katniss doesn’t fight Snow, the districts will crumble. If the rest of the query worked its magic, I’d care about the districts. Or I’d think, “Oh, another save the world idea,” (and there’s nothing wrong with those if the mini synopsis works).

But why does the MC have to be everybody’s hero?


  1. If Katniss doesn’t fight Snow, she won’t get the satisfaction of seeing his defeat.
  2. If Katniss doesn’t fight Snow, he’ll not only have wiped out her district, but he’ll get away with it.
  3. With everything to lose, Katniss must decide if she’ll back down or take her chances.

Okay, those aren’t the best examples, but I care a little more when it’s personal. Think of the themes above. 1. Revenge. 2. I want to see someone stop him. 3. Personal risk.

Again, if yours is a save the world story, then let it be. But if and where you can, let the stakes affect the hero’s personal life. At this point, I don’t care about districts crumbling, I care about Katniss’s beef with Snow. Voldemort enslaves humanity? Don’t care. Can Harry escape his wrath? Intrigued.

Get eyes on the query.

Ask if people would read the book based on it, and ask people who’ve written one to critique it.


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