Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Secret to A Good Query Letter: Get Lost (Season 1, that is)

There are many blogs out there that offer great lists of tips on how to write a good query letter and how to survive the agent hunt with the least possible amount of bodily harm and psychological trauma. I don’t want to waste your time by repeating their advice. (But in case you want to check out Nathan Bransford’s one-stop shop for topnotch query advice, swing by HERE.)

I will offer you this one little suggestion though: WATCH THIS.

J.J. Abrams, the creator of LOST, Alias, and Cloverfield, talked about the importance of the MYSTERY BOX in television and film. I’m going to stay away from debating about how LOST ended (sigh), but I will take my hat off to Mr. Abrams for the incredible job he did at reeling viewers into the mystery of the show’s first season. Who wasn’t dying to know what “the numbers” meant or who “the Others” were? He threw in a “smoke monster” and we were hopelessly hooked.

I believe the power of the mystery box applies to query letters as well. An effective query letter is like a good blind date – you give enough away to pique a person’s interest, but leave him/her wanting more. Give too much, and kiss a second date good bye. Give too little, and the crickets will break into a chorus. So my humble advice is, dress well, comb your hair, and keep a smoke monster in your pocket at all times.

* Switches to Sir David Attenborough’s voice * If you hide quietly behind the bushes and wait patiently, you may just see that rare and elusive creature known as the literatus agentus climb into your carefully laid mystery box.

p.s. I know that the characters from BEFORE EVER AFTER were supposed to stop by this week, but I’m still getting clearance for the excerpts I’ll be sharing with you. Stay tuned! But as promised, I did bring chicken wings. The beer’s in the fridge. Make yourself at home :-)


Catherine Stine said...

Yes, it should read like flap copy, where you leave 'em itching to know more. BTW, I loved Lost, and was disappointed with the ending.

ernesto said...

Quiero ser el primero que va a leer tu libro en kindle! Eso es mi promesa y la voy a cumplir! Ernesto

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Catherine - I know, right? I'm hoping FRINGE won't let me down...fingers crossed!
Ernesto - Thanks! BEFORE EVER AFTER (hardcover and kindle version) is actually available for pre-order on Amazon now. :)

Scrollwork said...

Ooh, chicken wings! Makes up for the delay (nice diversion!) BTW, loved the David Attenborough voiceover. And, of course, J.J. Abrams' TED talk.