The Starving Novelist
There are A LOT of really good websites out there for people who need help writing a query.  With this being said, I'm always AMAZED by how many REALLY bad queries I read on websites where you can post your query for critiquing (is that a word?).  Now, I'm not trying to be mean or condenscending, but seriously . . . come on.   I'm not even talking about the actual writing/wording of the hook/blurb (which even the best query writer can struggle with), I'm talking about the big no-no's: i.e., word counts that are triple the size of the average first novel, too much personal information, praising one's own work, odd formating, etc., etc.  I think having your query looked over (critiqued) is an awesome idea, but AT LEAST do some research before posting it.  It should be your personal best, and comments should help make it shine.  The people who volunteer their time to read over your query are there to HELP you, not write your query for you.

The REALLY scary part is when people who have NO IDEA what they're talking about offer advice.  Don't get me wrong, there are some people out there who offer REALLY good advice, and they know EXACTLY what they're talking about (these people have the patience of a saint if you ask me ;o)   However, I CRINGE when I read some of the advice.  For example, one person advised this newbie to open her query with a QUOTE from her book.  What?!?!?  Ugh, yeah . . . I don't think so.  I could be totally wrong, but I've NEVER seen this done before in a query.  I'm not saying not to listen to advice, but if you have any doubts- double check!!  Google is an amazing tool ;o)  Don't take all advice as gospel. 

On a final note, format is often a subjective thing (I see a lot of critiques on this).  Everyone says DON'T put genre/word count at the beginning of the query, but some agents request it this way!!  Always check the agent's submissions guidelines to see if they have a preference. 

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