Dear Frustrated Author (With An Awesome Manuscript),
You’ve done it—you’ve completed your book! Let’s take a moment first and bask in that. It’s a major accomplishment and you’ve put so much work into that your brain is likely in “go” mode and you’re excited to jump ahead to next steps. And we’ll get there in just a second—but really, before anything else: Congratulations!
Okay, okay, now the “What next?”
First, let’s get down some clear goals for your work. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
That last one is the clincher. With an agent (how good will it feel to say “MY agent”?), you’ll be partnered with someone who is in it for the long haul—who believes in you as a writer and wants to help you publish your work. Agents have the network, resources, experience and industry knowledge and you’re the talent—landing a good agent means that your responsibility lies in one thing and one thing only: your book(s).
But getting one can be tricky. Maybe you don’t know how to even get started or you’ve begun to query and aren’t sure you’re doing it right because you’re not getting any positive responses.
Either way, you’re realizing that this whole getting-an-agent thing is harder than it sounded at first.
All is not lost! You just need some guidance.
Well then, you’re in the right place!
All those fears or assumptions are just that — fears and assumptions. You shouldn’t, can’t, and with this course, won’t let them stop you.
That’s the agent you’re looking for.
You feel like they’re excited, really excited about your book and they’re going to fight for you and go the extra mile to see it in print.
Getting an advance payment from a publisher is nice, very nice, but it’s almost as gratifying to call yourself a published author.
You’d have an editor, a publicist, a designer, a copyeditor, the list goes on. Finally, you can focus on what you love most and know that a dedicated team of professionals is there to help.
Publishers don’t always get it right, but when they invest in you, they’re making a business decision and trying to advise you and support you in reaching all your potential readers.
Getting published is a common first step to building the network and credentials that can help you become an author who spends their days writing.
As a former agent myself, I represented many authors who worked hard to achieve their goals.
I know how you feel because, as an agent, I also got rejected. I got rejected all the time. Just like authors pitch to agents, agents have to pitch to editors at the publishing house.
I made the same mistakes querying that authors do. I started off pitching in a way that felt intuitive to me. My pitches encapsulated what I loved about the book, which was nice and necessary, but lacked strategy and was ultimately ineffective.
The first pitches I wrote were far too long. I was trying to cram so much information into one letter that’s sole purpose is to get an editor interested—not exhausted by the time he or she reached the end. And the result?
Those pitches got me nowhere.
The stakes for me were high. Agents get paid on commission. If my pitches didn’t work, and I didn’t sell the books I was representing, I wouldn’t be eating for long!
I STILL stand by my belief that the first book I sent out to editors was a great read, well written with engaging characters, but you know what? It never sold.
That was so many years ago and I’m still sad about it. I should have asked for more advice way back then because you can guarantee my colleagues would have helped.
However, from there on out, I asked a lot of questions. I showed my pitches to other agents and strategized with them behind the scenes. I also saw their pitches, dissected them, asked more questions, and compared them.
It was my full-time job to figure out how to attract the attention of editors, and I saw in real-time which pitches captivated editors and which ones languished. This is what I spent most of my day doing — for five years!
At the same time, I was getting hundreds upon hundreds of query letters… and gauging my own reactions to those.
WHY did I like that one?
WHY did I throw the other one out right away?
Remember, this wasn’t a hobby. To put it in bare, honest terms, I had to crack the code in order to start making money.
I can tell you this from personal experience: there’s a strategy to crafting successful query letters.
So here’s the thing —
My industry is full of stories of authors who figured out how to pitch effectively and suddenly realized their previous rejections were never about them or their manuscript.
The first thing they see is your query letter.
You might write like Hemingway or Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, but if your query letter isn’t getting sent to the right person or hitting the right notes, the agent likely won’t read anything further.
Nothing else is nearly as important as querying effectively. Your query letter is truly the first link to your potential agent and therefore your publishing deal.
When you learn how to research agents, how to organize your submissions, structure your query letter effectively, and follow-up, you’ll be giving your manuscript the opportunity it deserves.
You can benefit by learning from my experience and putting your time into effective strategies.
It sounds so easy. Who knows your book better than you do? No one. But you’ve got to understand it from a marketing perspective.
You need to know your genre, sub-genres, themes, audience and strengths like the back of your hand. You’ll know exactly which element to emphasize for which agent.
Most authors fail because they write one mass query that describes the book in a way that appeals to them (the author).
There are so many ways to pitch the same story and like a marketing virtuoso, you’ll come to understand your book in several different ways and learn to use that to your advantage.
You’ve probably tried to figure this out on your own—and been overwhelmed by the resources available.
To put together your dream list, you’ve got to take the right steps:
You’ll end up with a list of dream agents who are right for your book. This is the critical part. You’ve got to create your own personalized, highly targeted list of agents who are actively looking for your voice, your story.
A literary agent requests the manuscript for a small percentage of the query letters they receive. They’re limited by time.
And most queries fail in predictable ways. Authors don’t understand the structure, the hook, the voice, and the personalization that needs to go into the letter.
Most authors write one generic query and spam as many agents as possible. Then, they wonder why they’re getting form rejections or not hearing back at all.
You need to tailor your query the right way. You need to be intentional about your description and your personalization.
Does it take more time to do that? Yes.
Is it worth it to increase your chances of hearing back from the person who can support and guide your career as an author? Oh, yes.
Your query needs to have this effect on the agents:
The best query letters speak to their target agent. You’ll know you’ve crafted a masterful query when you start hearing back from agents who already feel a connection with your story.
Remember that 35% of the 21 agents we surveyed said that more than half of their current, active author list came from the slush pile.
Getting an agent isn’t like chasing a dream. It’s an achievable goal.
In Query Mastery, you’ll discover:
You’ll learn how to think about your book and target agents, how to get clear on what you can and should focus on. You’ll be able to use this information to draft queries that will entice agents.
You’ll master each component of the query, one by one, starting with a hook that will grab the attention of any agent, continuing with a summary that will deliver on that premise, and ending with the closing which will impress the agent and make a request a no-brainer.
This is where you learn how to curate a dynamite list of agents to query. Dynamite for you. Just because an agent is amazing and has a bazillion sales to their name, doesn’t mean they’re the best agent for you. You’re going to learn how to think about all the agents that are out there, with all the levels of experience and start to decode how and why agents fall in love with a book.
Now that you understand who to look for and why, you’re going to learn the tools and systems that will help you collect that information. The tools are broken down step by step so you can feel confident in conducting your search and collect the relevant information that will lock each agent in your crosshairs.
Here you’ll learn the system that will help you organize your querying so you feel like it’s easily manageable and there’s a constant systematic flow of communication between you and the right agents. You also learn what kind of follow-ups agent appreciate so you can continue to build on that meaningful connection.
Not sure which hook you want to use? You’ll learn from an agent (who owns her own agency) to identify the hook agents will want from you.
You’ll work with a former literary agent and current high-profile blogger who is an in-demand conference speaker. In this virtual workshop, you’ll learn how to make your description irresistible.
You’ll work with an agent to learn how to effectively use social media to reach out to agents. This is an approach that’s easy to implement and very effective if done correctly.
QUERY MASTERY IS NOT RIGHT FOR YOU IF:
• You don’t have a complete draft of your manuscript. Once you start querying, if you get a request from an agent, your manuscript has to be ready to go! No agent wants to hear that they’ll have to wait to read. It’s unprofessional.
• You’re too afraid to take action. It’s ok if you don’t feel confident as an author yet (heck, some bestselling authors feel like hacks), but you have to be willing to take action on the material you’ll be learning.
• You have a non-fiction book that’s NOT a memoir. Memoirs often have the same sort of arc or narration as a novel and ore generally are written before they’re pitched to agents, but other non-fiction, such as business books are sold on proposal. A proposal is different from a query letter, as are the credentials agents look for in non-fiction authors, so this program is not right for you. (Please note: It is RIGHT for fiction and memoir authors.)
• You’re looking for a quick fix. No one becomes a bestseller overnight. We’ll teach you the most effective strategies but it still takes effort and focus.
QUERY MASTERY IS RIGHT FOR YOU IF...
You have a novel or a memoir and your dream is to get a literary agent. It's a top priority for you and your book, and you’re ready to all the necessary actions and make this dream a reality!
You've reached out to many agents and are feeling deflated because you haven't received a positive response, but you're ready to start again and tackle it the right way!
You’re a first-time author but you're ready to invest in yourself as an author. You know it’s time to learn how to pitch your book and give it the chance it deserves.
You're tired of blindly sending out random letters and reading conflicting advice. You want an easy step-by-step system to follow to get your book in the right hands.
Here is my promise to you. If you go through Query Mastery and within a month honestly feel I’ve wasted your time or you weren’t able to find any value, send me an email in 30 days and I’ll gladly refund you. No questions asked, no hard feelings. You have 4 weeks to decide if you love it!
Using Query Mastery’s best practices, you will be tailoring and personalizing your letter for different agents, so a critique of one letter won’t necessarily translate to all your permutations. This is why you’ll learn how to draft each element of the letter using exercises that are designed to help you master them.
However, you can still get personal critiques on your letters! Every week, we have the live coaching call. If you want to submit part of your letter for a Hot Seat, you can get it critiqued live on the call.
This way, you’ll learn from the critique of your own work as well as the critiques of your fellow QM Authors. It will give you a lot of experience to help you genuinely understand what works and what doesn’t.
Hot Seats will also be available from the other agents in the Bonus Labs.
And don’t forget, you’ll be sharing worksheet exercises in the Facebook group and getting feedback and support there as well.
Right away! As soon as you sign up, you’ll receive some introductory emails to help you get oriented, as well as a login to the site, and you’ll be able to join the Facebook group.
It’s best to take Query Mastery if you’re close to completing your manuscript. It doesn’t necessarily have to be finished, but you want to be close enough that you feel ready to start thinking about agents.
If you’ve written a memoir, then yes! The querying process for memoirs is the same as for fiction. However, Query Mastery does not apply to any other type of non-fiction.
No! You have lifetime access to the course materials. Within the ten week period, you’ll have access to the five coaching calls and three agent calls.
Yes! I’m usually able to answer everyone’s questions. However, if the call is longer than 2 hours and it’s getting late and I still haven’t answered your question, we’ll take it over to Facebook the following day and I’ll respond to you there.
This line of thinking is absent from the other class I've taken and I never realized how valuable it was until I had to do it … I feel like the product you're offering may be worth MORE ... For me, given that you have live, one-on-one coaching, very professional and informative learning modules, etc., I think you could price the course more in the $1,200 - $1,500 range and be just as successful.
“Mind. Blown. Seriously. The query mastery course is just that, a mastery course. I've taken query workshops before and even paid for query critiques. I was certain there was no more to learn. I was wrong. A lot of a-ha moments in this course. I only wish I could take back all of the queries I sent prior to taking this course. But I'm ready to query again and feel confident I know what I'm doing this time.”
“After completing Query Mastery, I now feel totally confident in my ability to successfully navigate the querying process. This confidence stems from both the challenging work done during the carefully planned and sequenced course modules and the meaningful feedback obtained via the weekly coaching calls and private online community. I can’t imagine any other better way to master the querying process!”