Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Querying Jodi

What can I say, I have a popular agent. I often (very often!) get emails from aspiring writers asking me what Jodi likes, how to get a leg up with her, what she's looking for. Often they will ask if I can read sample pages or even their whole book to see if it fits with what Jodi wants. (I can't BTW, it's too big of a liability risk for me. Sorry!) Unfortunately, the answer to this is often . . . well, I don't know.

However, Jodi has asked me to pass on a couple of her preferences! So if you are thinking of querying Jodi, here is what she says.

She does not like the abrupt jumping into book description without an introduction. For example, instead of this:

Dear Ms. Reamer,

The bloody knife was just lying in Chloe's living room. She didn't have anything to do with it, but now the police are carting her away!

Go with this:

Dear Ms. Reamer,

I am a reader of your very favorite author, Aprilynne Pike, and since you seem to enjoy riveting fiction, I would love to send you my paranormal YA manuscript, CHLOE'S MISTAKE, complete at 70,000 words.

The bloody knife . . . .etc.etc.etc.

(and yes, that intro is totally tongue in cheek.;))

A lot of agents like the jumping-in approach, but your exclusive Aprilynne tip, Jodi doesn't.

Also, with as full as Jodi's list is, she has a strong preference to read materials exclusively. You are welcome to debate the pros and cons of exclusives elsewhere, but just saying, you will get farther with Jodi in particular, if you are willing to grant a short exclusive.

There you go, a couple of Jodi's preferences. Other than that, she's just looking for good books. With her background as a corporate litigator, she is always looking for a good legal thriller, but she reps a bit of everything with a specialization in children's literature.

And for those who are querying right now, a few basic reminders:

DO give your word count. Don't try to trick the agent. A word count also lets them know your novel is finished.

DO tell the agent the plotline. I cannot tell you how many queries I have read that only tell about the character. You need a plot, you probably HAVE a plot . . . so spill!!;)

DON'T tell the agent how great/compelling/interesting/fabulous your book is, show them a great/compelling/interesting/fabulous plot in your synopsis paragraph. Telling an agent how masterful your own book is and how many readers will adore it means nothing. We ALL think that about our books! Just lay out your plot and let it speak for itself.

DON'T address your query to "Dear Agent" address the agent personally. (Also, Jodi is a woman, don't let the Esq. at the end through you off. It just means she's a lawyer.)

Similarly, DON'T send a query to every agent at the agency. One at a time. Jodi said that she and the other agents always have to laugh a little when someone queries every agent in the agency at once because it is painfully obvious. The mail all going to the same small mail room, people!!;)

So good luck querying!!!

Don't forget that the contest for the WINGS ARC and Valentine's gift bags is still open. And just as a little incentive, here's a picture of the bags I made this morning.:D

You can find the rules on how to enter here for Blogger users or here for LJ users.

And lastly, I can finally unveil Harper's tour plans for me this summer!!!

Well, some of them.:)

I will be participating in the Supernatural Summer tour this June with Kim Harrison, Claudia Gray, Kelley Armstrong, and Melissa Marr!!


Tuesday, June 2 Anderson’s Naperville, IL

Wednesday, June 3 Books & Co. @ the Greene Dayton, OH

Thursday, June 4 Joseph Beth’s Cincinnati, OH

Friday, June 5 B&N Portland, OR

Saturday, June 6 Borders Redmond, WA

They are mixing and matching the authors, so I won't be at all these events, I will be at the ones at Portland and Redmond. I will have more specific info up on my website in a few days.

I also have four other places I am touring to, but I don't know the specifics yet. As soon as I do, I'll let you know!



woman who roars said...

Double wow! Thanks for the insights on Jodi and the pictures of the goody bags.


Triple wow b/c of the tour - does it seem surreal?

K. M. Walton said...

Hi Aprilynne - Ahhhh, the zen master of literary agents...Jodi Reamer. She actually has my whole book - The End of Normal. I'm still hoping and wishing. We'll see...

Can't wait for your book to come out. I've actually drummed up some interst with my 6th graders that I teach. Exciting times for you.

Unknown said...

I'll pass the agent info on.. *wink wink* He won't need it for a little while though...

Gonna be a fun summer!

Jessie Oliveros said...

You mentioned giving Jodi a "short exclusive." So, when you query (such as Jodi) and mention that it is an exclusive, do you give a time frame?

Aprilynne Pike said...

Sierra, yes! It totally does still feel surreal!!!

K.M. Good Luck! And thank SO MUCH for spreading the word!!

Jessie, let me clarify. Not an exclusive on your query, but on requested materials. I'm sorry that wasn't clear. And, IMO, never offer an exclusive, but consider granting it if it is requested and set a time limit on it. 2-4 weeks is average. But not on a query! Query widely!!

Stina said...

Ooops! I made two of these mistakes when I queried Jodi (not saying which ones). But I still ended up with a request for a partial (still in shock over that one).

Can't wait to read your novel, Aprilynne.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the great advice on Queries! If I ever work up the nerve to show someone one of my books, I'll be sure to check out this blog entry again!

I was wondering when "Wings" is coming out in England? I saw your cover in the last blog.

Those bags of candy look sooo good!


Nancy said...

I saw that you will be going on the Supernatural tour, YEAY!! Will you also tour solo? and if yes, will it be in the San Francisco, bay area?

Kenny said...

Becky D: Wings is scheduled for simultaneous release in the UK and US. So, May 5th.

Ravenous Reader: Aprilynne's tour schedule is up on her website, including both her solo launch tour dates and her Supernatural Summer schedule.

She doesn't have any public signings scheduled in the bay area, but if everything goes well at launch, maybe she'll have an opportunity to stop there another time. d^_^b

Patti said...

Thanks for the great insight. It would be nice to know that much about other agents.

Kate Evangelista said...

Well, I totally messed up my query letter to her now. Sad.

Pixie Vixen said...

Kate, I feel exactly the same way! Nothing like coming upon good advice AFTER you've already pressed send. :(

Keith Popely said...

Thanks, Aprilynne, for the very helpful tips. I've been going back and forth on several versions of my query and I'm currently sending out the in medias res version, so I'm definitely glad I found your blog and your advice. You are an angel for taking the time to help us query-ers.

Robin Quinn said...

This is great information. Like going to an interview, you want to sell your package, but doing your research on the actual company proves you're serious. Thank you, again.

Write well, and congratulations on the publication of your novel.

Robin Quinn

Anonymous said...

Hi Aprilynne,

I snail mailed my full childrens picture book manuscript and query letter to Jodi Reamer on 10/5/2011. It is now 11/22/2011 just shy of 7 weeks now, and i'm going crazy! She is my top choice and I would love more than anything to have the chance to work with her.
Is it a bad sign that it's been this long? How long should i wait before moving on to another agent?

Thank you for any advice you may be able to give me.


Anonymous said...


In the query letter, is there supposed to be synopsis of the premise (1-2 paragraphs) OR a full synopsis (5+ paragraphs?)


Susie said...

I have about half my book typed up. Is it ok to send a query letter now? Or do you recommend finishing the book first?