Query Quest: the Hunt for Representation

Query Quest – a self-direct elearning class for querying authors trying to find a lit agent and get literary representation of their book or novel  

A self-paced course for querying authors

This deep-dive course covers everything you need to know about the querying process, including examples of synopses and query letters, interviews with literary agents, and an analysis of the reality of landing representation. More importantly, we've designed six activities to help you hone your capacity for self-critique.

Query letters and synopses aren't unimportant, but the truth is, everything rides on the manuscript itself. Yet if something isn't working in your pitch, it usually speaks to underlying structural issues. Therefore, the intended takeaway for this course is a call to continually assess your work as you begin to test the querying waters.

• Comprehensive guides on various craft topics
• Directed activities and self-assessment prompts
• Detailed and tested querying strategy
• Agent interviews and analysis
• Work at your own pace in our user-friendly Moodle site
• Affordable access: only $30 USD ($40 CAD)
• This course is free with the purchase of any of our query services


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    Course Outline

    Unit One: the query

    • Activity: using Hannah Sheppard's "pitch formula" to boil your plot down to one or two sentences
    • Overview of querying and the agent's role in publishing
    • Pro tips from our agent interview series
    • Successful query letters from the Perfect Pitch series

    Unit Two: the synopsis

    • Activity: a synopsis in building blocks
    • Novel structure worksheet
    • Literary agents on wordcount 
    • Synopsis examples

    Unit Three: the manuscript

    • Activity: investigating immersion (how other books pull you in)
    • Activity: the rose-and-thorn book review
    • Literary agent perspectives on voice and the importance of revision
    • The importance of first sentences
    • On beta readers and critique partners
    • Plus a number of resources on common manuscript issues, such as narrative structure, point of view, voice, generic gestures, overused openings, and, of course, the writer's maxim: show, don't tell

    Unit Four: the hunt

    • Activity: how do your first pages land?
    • Querying strategically
    • Resource reviews: Query Tracker, the Twitter #WritingCommunity, Manuscript Wish List (#MSWL), pitch battles, and Publishers Marketplace
    • Some of the best agent interviews from our Book Broker series

    Unit Five: the reality

    • Activity: taking a chance on the Query Tracker forum
    • Literary representation: by the numbers
    • Query Quest: final word

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    Curriculum Design

    Query Quest—how to find a literary agent, a guide by David Griffin Brown, Darling Axe founder and senior editor, online writing instructor

    David Griffin Brown is an award-winning short-fiction writer and Darling Axe senior editor. He has 20 years' editing experience, and has also spent 15 years working as a staff trainer, English teacher, and writing instructor. David completed his MFA in creative writing through the University of British Columbia, and he holds an undergraduate degree in anthropology through the University of Victoria.  David's two debut novels, Sky to Sea and The Sparrow War, are both represented by the Donaghy Literary Group.

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