In the comments around Wednesday's discussion on rewriting queries and submitting rewritten queries as your own, Matt linked to this "successful query" post on Kristin Nelson's blog and pointed to the comment where the author reveals one of Kristin's other bestselling clients actually wrote the query in question.
If you're too lazy to follow the links where the author confesses that she couldn't crank out a decent query (and in truth the attempts she offers up as proof are a bit awkward, though no better or worse than many queries we see right here) or to look at Kristin's subsequent post, the nutshell is this:
- Courtney Milan won a query crit from bestselling author Sherry Thomas
- Courtney struggled with the query and Sherry, in exasperation, wrote it for her
- Sherry also read Courtney's ms and referred Courtney to Kristin
- Still, even without the intro, Kristin would have requested from the query
- Courtney not only wound up with representation from one of the most savvy agents in the biz, she snagged a 6-figure deal for 2 books at auction
- Kristin then makes a statement that I must have been channeling when I wrote the post on Wednesday:
"Sometimes it is difficult for a writer to write his or her own query. The writer is very close to the material and can’t often see the forest for the trees. If you’ve struggled with the query writing process, I don’t think it’s playing unfair to have another person write the query on your behalf, or with you, or revise it for you. As long as you end up with a strong letter that you believe fully represents your work, I, as the agent, will not ask if you wrote your own query letter. It can be your own deep, dark secret.
"The point of the query is to win an agent’s attention and get a request for sample pages. Now, your sample pages have to hold up. The greatest query letter in the world is not going to compensate for unready sample pages.
"And if somebody else ends up writing your query, make sure they are good at it!"