Moniza Hossain, a fantasy writer represented by Uwe Stender of Triada US Lit Agency, so generously answered some questions about her query experience! She shares some great advice for new queriers, so read on!
Can you tell us a little about the novel that got you your agent?
Moniza: It’s a fun middle grade fantasy novel featuring a powerful girl, a cunning (but kind!) boy and lots of cool southasian monsters.
What were some of your rookie mistakes when you first started to query?
M: I’ve been reading the Query Shark blog for years, so by the time I got around to querying a book, I wasn’t physically capable of making rookie mistakes. The Shark will do that to you!
But my book wasn’t as strong as my query letter. And in the end it’s the book that counts.
At what point did you decide it was time to stop querying your first project?
M: When my second book was polished and ready! And the funny thing is that I actually still had fulls out with agents at that point. But I knew in my gut that first book didn’t have what it takes.
What do you wish you had known and could tell your past self about your very first query?
M: I wouldn’t tell myself a single thing. I had to go through the whole process of querying that doomed first book. It was an important part of my journey and I learned so much from the agents who were kind enough to give me feedback.
It was an agent who told me my voice is better suited to middle grade fiction than young adult. If she hadn’t done that, I would never have written my second book. I also made so many friends in the writing community by participating in pitching contests with my first book.
What advice would you give new queriers?
M: I would advise them to spend some time on the Query Shark blog. It’s an incredible resource and you will learn everything you need to know.
The MSWL website is also a great resource for creating a list of agents to query. You can find out exactly which agents are looking for books like yours.
And finally, the best way to cope with the anxiety of querying is to WRITE SOMETHING ELSE. Send your queries out and forget about them. Querying can take absolutely forever and you do not want to waste that time feeling anxious and impatient. New projects will give you hope.
What is something you know now as an agented writer that you wish you’d known before?
M: I’ve seen a lot of successful queries since getting an agent and they are all imperfect. Ultimately it’s all about the book. Just make sure your query looks normal!
Thank you so much for your time! Where can we find you on social media?
M: You can find me on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/monizahossain/
And my twitter handle is @moniza_hossain!