Thursday, December 15, 2011

Editing Advent 2011 with C.A. Marshall and why I need more query critiques!

My day job is writing grant requests for a small non-profit. Basically, I get 1-2 pages to summarize ten years of history and sell potential funders on our organize. Funders receive hundreds of requests each year, so I have to come up with a way present our mission that is clear, concise and unignorable (that's not a word? I would have sworn that's a word!)

Sound familiar? Yep. It's a lot like querying. Summing up a book I've spent 3 years writing and editing in 250 words in such a way that it stands out from the hundreds of others vying for attention from the slush pile.

There is a part of me that enjoys the challenge. I love getting notes from crit partners and hearing the questions people have after reading my query. But it's exhausting. I feel like I've rewritten the thing a thousand times. And I am always looking to improve.

Enter the wonderful, talented C.A. Marshall, freelance editor, YA writer and lit agent intern. As if Cassandra doesn't have enough on her plate, she is giving away editing prizes to commenters on her blog every day until Christmas Eve! Today, the prize is a two pass query critique. Any feedback on my query is great, but feedback from a lit agent intern, with the opportunity to revise, is HUGE! I've had two agents critique my query, but ever had the opportunity to try again. That inside view of the query process is so valuable. I try to hop around and crit other people's queries, but I don't know everything that's out there. So when an agent tells me my query "seems familiar," I don't always know why. (One example, I just found out there's a book titled "Altered" coming out in 2012. So it looks like I'm going to have to change the title. Again.) That's wonderful folks like Cassandra come in, willing to help us figure out how to put forth the best query we can.

So if you're a writer, check out Editor Cassandra for all your editing needs and follow her blog to get updates on the Editing Advent each day until Christmas Eve!


  1. Great info, thanks for the update! And best of luck with the query re-writes.

  2. I don't know how I've missed this! Thanks for sharing:)

  3. I actually won that day! I'm so stoked to work with Cassandra! (And I'm crossing my fingers that THIS query will be the ONE).

    Good luck to both of you!