SATURDAY SIT-DOWN with Literary Agent Whitley Abell

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Coffee Cups and Post-it Notes

Today I’m sitting down with the lovely Whitley Abell of Inklings Literary Agency, who’s here to tell us some common query mistakes, what makes her stop reading a manuscript, and what she’d love to see in her inbox. Welcome, Whitley!

What are some of the most common mistakes you see in queries?

 Not enough focus on the manuscript being pitched. Much too often, queries wax on about the author, their inspirations or the aspirations, and I go to the sample not knowing at all what kind of book I’m potentially looking at.

Not following directions. Like many agents I know, I ask that queries include the first 10 pages pasted in the e-mail body. We don’t ask this to be annoying; there’s just so much to read that we need the uniformity to keep the workflow going. I read a lot of queries on my phone, and attachments are…

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