Melissa Baumgart

Some Thoughts on Query Editing

Since I’m trying to promote my editing services a bit more, I thought it might be useful to talk a bit about how I view query editing.

Editing is not the same thing as writing your query for you. *You* have to write it. What I will do is help make sure you’re highlighting what’s exciting and special about your book, which will make agents want to read your manuscript. The rest is up to you.

A good query edit won’t necessarily mean your book sells. A good query edit won’t even guarantee you an agent. You have to write a good book to do that. But if your manuscript’s not getting requests, maybe you need some help crafting a query that stands out and gets to the heart of your novel.

Here’s a free tip, and honestly, what it all comes down to: What’s at stake in this book? Why does it matter that your character gets what he/she/they wants? What happens if they fail? And why will readers care about whether your character succeeds or fails? Specifics are really important here. What makes this book special?

I recommend anyone interested in querying to read Janet Reid’s Query Shark blog. It’s an incredible resource for breaking down why a query does or doesn’t work.

If you hire me to help with your query, I will help you express what you believe is the beating heart of your manuscript – the reason people will read it and love it. Finding the perfect way to state that in a query letter will intrigue agents enough that they will request to read said manuscript. But your job is to make sure you’re delivering what you’re promising in the query. Is what you’re saying matters present in the manuscript itself? Are the stakes there? Is the main character’s journey compelling? That is what will propel your manuscript forward past the initial consideration by agents.