Thoughts & Favorites

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Quick & Dirty Query Tips

A few months ago I joined a group called THE SWANKY SEVENTEENS and it has easily been one of the best decisions I've made in 2016. It's a group of funny, nice, generous, and incredibly talented authors who are all debuting a YA or MG novel next year. I predict you'll be hearing a lot about them in the coming months.

The Swankies recently put together a list of quick query tips -- seventeen, of course.  If you're currently in the querying trenches or think you'll be there soon, take a scroll through these hints. They might make the difference between a request and a pass.

While I'm at it, I'll throw a tip of my own into the ring:

Make yourself familiar with Manuscript Wishlist (#mswl).

I got my own beyond-amazing agent, Pete Knapp, through the slush pile, so it really does happen.

But I also searched through the #MSWL hashtag on Twitter and the website (, and referenced one of Pete's "wishes" in my query.

  Manuscript Wishlist:

  • Is a great tool to make sure you're setting your hook at the right agent
  • Is updated frequently so you know it's a fresh "want" and not something that they already found two years ago
  • Shows you made the effort to personalize the query for that particular agent.

All wins!! 

I'll be posting a more detailed look at my own querying adventures (and misadventures) coming soon. 

In the meantime, here's the best of the rest of the Swanky querying tips.

We all wish you the very best of luck!