Top 5 Reasons I Stop Reading Queries


By Rachel Beck

A few months ago, I was on a panel at a conference in which a moderator read authors’ first pages, and the agents on the panel had to raise their hands when they would stop reading and move on to the next. The writers were in the room. And then we had to say why we would have stopped. It sounds really harsh (and definitely made me feel like a Mean Person), but the writers were very grateful for the honesty and feedback. They took it as a valuable learning experience.  Continue reading “Top 5 Reasons I Stop Reading Queries”

The Importance of Knowing the Agent You’re Querying


By Sabrina Berndt

Looking through the submissions inbox, I constantly see queries from authors that obviously do not read the website and more specifically, our agents’ interests. It seems that some authors blindly send their queries to several agencies, completely ignoring their guidelines and interests. However, it is worth learning the benefits of getting to know agents before you send your query, which could greatly increase your chances of becoming a client at your favorite agency (Holloway, of course).  Continue reading “The Importance of Knowing the Agent You’re Querying”

Four Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Literary Agents

By Sabrina Berndt 

As the submissions coordinator for a literary agency, I’ve noticed the majority of authors make at least one mistake in their query letter, most trying to find a clever way to capture the agents’ attention. However, standing out from the crowd is not always a good thing, especially when we provide clear guidelines. A clear query letter gives the impression that you can follow directions and will be easier to work with. Although an author may think their query might get lost in a sea of emails with the same format, the truth is proper submissions are the ones that truly stand out.

Here are a few of most common mistakes I see when sorting through query letters.    Continue reading “Four Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Literary Agents”

Why You May Not Be Winning With Agents

By Rachel Beck

Editors, agents and authors publish a lot of instructional pieces about the craft of writing, and the mechanics of creating a strong novel. These tips tend to focus on plot, character, conflict, story arc, narrative voice, tone, etc. After all, you cannot have a successful book without these pieces in place, and not only must they be present, but they must also work in tandem to build on the goals and motives of the characters and story as a whole. If these pieces aren’t working in unison, your story may be rejected by publishing professionals, though hopefully with some helpful advice for improvement. Continue reading “Why You May Not Be Winning With Agents”