In a contest I entered (run by the Query Shark herself), it was said the majority of our queries were crap. I believe it--the form rejections I've gotten so far are proof my query could definitely use some tweaking.
Another entrant had the notion of posting all failed contest queries to a blog for critique...and I immediately jumped at the idea--the more us aspiring writers can help each other out, the better.
Soon after I got an email with the subject heading "Query Ripe for Attacking." While I'm definitely no query expert, I hope my critique will be useful to this fellow aspiring writer. (And maybe I'll learn something in the process.)
Below is the query with my notes in red:
Dear Fabulous Agent,
(Information about why I chose the agency). I am seeking representation for my young adult novel, ENCHANTER, complete at 113,000 words. This is good--gets right to the point. Word count might be a bit high for some of the pickier agents out there. I've heard the range for YA fantasy is 50,000-100,000 words.
Nim is in a race to outwit her mother’s killer. The only catch? He’s an enchanter. I'd combine to make this flow a bit more--"Nim is in a race to outwit her mother's killer--a deadly (or some other adjective) enchanter.
When Nim breaks the cardinal rule of the Muirardue household,
Attorney and recovering philosopher, I have a B.A. in Philosophy and a Juris Doctor in Law. I have no prior publications, but as a staff attorney in one of the state’s highest courts, I essentially ghost-write published nonfiction in the form of legal opinions. Good bio.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Hope this helps some of you fellow queriers out there!