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Author Recommendations in Cold Queries

Posted: May 28th, 2012, 1:23 pm
by KyleS
I apologize in advance if this topic has already received attention elsewhere on the forums. If it has, I'd appreciate being pointed to the thread (I couldn't find one.)

I was recently lucky enough to have a well-published author who writes in my same genre read the first several chapters of my novel that I'm currently quering to agents. He had a favorable response and recommended me to a couple contacts. However, I'm trying to decide if mentioning his favorable review in my queries to agents other than the ones he recommended I contact would be a good idea. Any thoughts? I'm thinking of having a quick sentence at the end of my cold queries (not the ones to the agents he recommended I contact) saying something like: "My novel has received a favorable review/response from [author's name], author of [author's published work]." Thoughts? Or is this a bad idea?

I'm interested in mentioning his favorable response because I'm hoping it'll help my cold queries stand out, as I haven't gotten mucgh response yet otherwise.


Re: Author Recommendations in Cold Queries

Posted: May 29th, 2012, 11:21 pm
by cheekychook
This is just my opinion, but I'd recommend against mentioning it to other agents. It's one thing to use a bona fide referral (and congrats on getting referrals---that's awesome and doesn't happen that often), but it's another to try to use that to woo people other than those directly mentioned. Agents have seen every "trick" in the book and frankly they're not often even all that impressed by actual referrals. In all likelihood an attempt to use this recommendation within a cold query will make an agent roll his/her eyes. The only way I'd even consider mentioning it would be if you have an actual quote you can use, from the author, about your specific project (like the kind of quote one might find on a book jacket)---I've seen those used in queries with mixed success. Often times you can tell from reading agent's blogs or interviews whether they're the type who might be swayed by reference or they're the type that just wants to know your story, plain and simple, and nothing else.

Speaking of getting a quote from the author...I had a similar experience when I was querying/shopping my first novel. I won an ebay charity auction of a critique/phone conversation with a best selling author. Not only did she give me a positive critique, some great advice and a boost in confidence at a low point in my query process, but we stayed in touch and when I contracted the novel with a small press she not only blogged about it, she offered to blurb it for me, so when my book is released there will be a quote from her on my cover. It's wonderful to have someone with experience in the business believe in you. Invaluable.

If you haven't already done so, post your query in the query thread here. It's always good to get query feedback, especially before sending important ones, and particularly if you've sent out a bunch without getting requests. You know at least this one author believes in your work---make sure there's not something about your query letter that's keeping others from taking a look and (hopefully) seeing what that author saw.

Good luck with all your queries. Let us know how it goes!

Re: Author Recommendations in Cold Queries

Posted: May 30th, 2012, 11:12 pm
by KyleS
Thanks for your input, I'm thinking you may be right. But if anyone else has any thoughts, I'm all ears. I've also posted my revised query in the queries thread for the MG fantasy novel Acea and the Animal Kingdom. - Kyle

Re: Author Recommendations in Cold Queries

Posted: May 31st, 2012, 9:42 am
by Mark.W.Carson
Here's my take. Some agents may groan and roll their eyes at something like this, but it wholly depends on two main things.

1) Is the query good

2) Do I know the person they are referring to, and do I like their input or not

Will it take a lackluster query and make them want you? No. Agents are doing this as their job. Their job is to make money for themselves and new talent. It probably won't work against you if you are already hitting them with a stellar query, and a premise that hooks them from the start. However, if you come at them with something tepid, it probably won't win them over to give you a shot. This is a gamble. You are either going to go up or down a few points, but frankly, unless Stephen King said my book is great, look at the letter he wrote me is what you are going to provide, it is likely not going to matter much.