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Monday, January 23, 2012

Query Critiques for All

Hi there! Welcome to my fancy, new author blog. Okay, it's not so fancy, but it's mine. Chances are you found me through my other writing blog Sisters in Scribe. I'll still be posting over there on Tuesdays, and will post here whenever the mood strikes. In continuing the celebration of signing with my awesome agent, I'm paying it forward and giving away query critiques to any and all who want one. WARNING: I tend to be very direct and picky with my feedback--though in an encouraging way--so this wouldn't be a good fit for super sensitive types.

The only RULES are that: 1) I get the query by midnight ET tonight (Tues. 1/24), and  2) the query is not longer than one page. If your query is longer than a page, you don't need a critique--you need to google "How to Write a Query Letter" and go from there. 3) Send your query as either a .doc or .rtf attachment to the address at the end of this post (I use track changes and would like it as a separate document).

TOTALLY OPTIONAL THINGS THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO BUT WILL BRING YOU GOOD KARMA: I'd love to hear feedback on the layout of my blog, etc. as it's a work in progress. Please leave any suggestions/etc. in the comments below. Also, if you subscribe to the newsletter, I promise to only send out super important, top secret info. I have no such info at the moment, but you never know. Finally, if you subscribe to the posts via either email or RSS, I'll send you virtual hugs. I'd give you a real hug, but you might think it a bit creepy if I just showed up on your doorstep. Thanks and I can't wait to read your query!

My email: Send your queries to drhelvig (at) yahoo (dot) com. 

37 comments:

  1. What a great opportunity! Thanks so much, and congratulations on signing with your agent :)

    In terms of your blog layout, it's very clean and neat. The header picture is great! Typically, I enjoy a little more warmth to a blog setting and there's not much here to get a sense of your personality, other than the header. But you know what? That's fine, because sometimes blogs are a little cluttered, which can take away from the post content. Love the "space monkey" mention :)

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  2. Yes, what a great opportunity. Congratulations on signing with your agent and all the est with your book.

    The blog is nice, but it would be good to see a little more. I do love the header by the way. I'm sure you will figure out what you want exactly.

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  3. Thanks so much for the feedback. I plan to add to it slowly but don't want to have the "clutter" problem that Jess mentioned. :)

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  4. It's awesome that you're giving query critiques! I do agree that there could be a little more warmth in the setting of your blog--perhaps a different color background? A dark red might go nicely with your header. I know I'm just a sucker for color. Other than that, my expertise on blog layouts is almost non-existent.

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  5. Thanks, Allie--I had the background dark red when I first did it! The problem was some of the words disappeared, but I think you can customize the lettering to make it stand out more. I'll try that again. :)

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  6. Congrats on signing with your agent!! I agree with Allie, though that your blog needs a wee bit more color! And maybe a tab for some info about you and your book? :-D I love the header though.

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  7. We have reached a color consensus! I will work on adding more color this week--as soon as I tackle these query critiques. Thanks so much for the input. :)

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  8. Nitpicky thing about the blog layout is that the header image is a bit "tall" - I love it but I'd narrow it down by half so the readers see your blog text faster. Especially on smaller screens it could be some scrolling before the random visitor would see any of the actual blog.

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  9. Malin--I love nitpicky as I tend to be that way myself. I'll shorten the image--thanks!

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  10. This is awesome! I like your new blog, I need to learn how to get things in individual boxes on the sides, hmmmm. Thank you :)

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  11. What a generous offer! As for feedback on the site, I agree about the tall header, though I love the picture. And I think a little color would add, too. Right now it feels a little plain. But a nice blank slate to start working with. :) Congrats again on signing with an agent!

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  12. Thanks so much for the query critique offer! I'll send something along today.

    As far as the website, I agree that the top image seemed a little too tall -- I want to get to your blog content as soon as possible, without any extra scrolling. ;)

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  13. Thanks for the critique opportunity!

    As for blog layout, I'd change the header to just be the height of your title and add a bit more personalization in the picture to show your personality. I don't get a sense of you or your writing with the current image. The width of the header should stretch the same area as what's beneath (so, in line with the left and right sections). When you have the image in place, make the color of the background a highlight tone of one of the visual elements. That would tie it all together.

    (Sorry, that was long...I'm a site designer in my day job;)

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  14. Congrats on signing with your agent! That's awesome! And thanks for such a generous opportunity to get feedback on a query letter. I really appreciate it and will definitely be emailing you! I like the layout of your blog. The color is easy on my eyes, and it blends well with the image at the top. (Oh, and I love the reference to the "occasional space monkey"!) :-)

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  15. Love the color! It's new since I checked-in this morning. How about an avatar? I think blog spaces evolve--like scrapbooks. Thanks for the query critique. Mine is on its way to your inbox.

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  16. yay! I've been looking forward this all weekend :)

    Good start on the blog. Can't wait to see how you get it more visually involved :)

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  17. oh! And I assume you'll have a "pages" tab for your upcoming book??

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  18. Elisabeth--thanks, I like this color too. Kimberly--it's great to have input from a site designer and that gives me a lot to think about. I think once I add things about my book, it will help some. Ashley--thanks, and you're welcome. Queries are fun for me. :)

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  19. Heather--thanks and yes, I will in the future. :)

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  20. Woot! I'll be sending you my query shortly :) About the blog layout - I'm a huge website designer geek and love tampering with Blogger blogs, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Seriously, I spent forever making my Blogger blog look like a website, so I know a lot of little tricks. As for your design, I'd love to see and "About the Author" page where we could learn a little bit more about you.

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  21. Thanks, Tiana! I also have a new website www.kristihelvig.com and will have an About the Author page there, but I didn't think about adding that here too. I may take you up on the advice offer as I get further along. :)

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  22. Thanks so much for this opportunity! I like the layout. It's simple enough to not be distracting, but pretty enough to be pleasing to the eye :)

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  23. What an awesome opportunity! As for the layout, I think it's a little plain for my taste, but there is nothing really wrong with it. :)

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  24. Thanks, Jami. Anah--yeah, I'm hoping to add a little more "flair" to it over time, but I tend to lean toward clean and simple. :)

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  25. Thanks, that's really nice of you :) And congrats on the agent, that's amazing!

    As far as the blog, it's pretty bare bones at the moment, but like you said, it's a work in progress. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  26. Thanks a lot for doing this and congradulations on getting an agent. Quick question, do you want this to be sent as a word document?

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  27. Raven--thanks, and yes please (either Word or RTF). Thanks!

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  28. Yay, thanks so much for this opportunity!

    All my suggestions for your blog were already said (by KimberleyFDR) - I'd definitely love to know more about YOU and what you write! When I read blogs, it's because I am interested in the people who write them, and I think giving us a little bit of your personality would add so much. Good luck with your blog design!

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  29. Thanks for the great opportunity, and congrats on your dream agent! I'm looking forward to hearing more about your journey and your book.

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  30. Thank you for the opportunity! The blog is very clean - almost too clean! I'd love to see your bio at the top and a "follower" widget somewhere - it makes it a lot easier to add blogs to my reading list. I might make the header a little smaller to get to the info on the pages a little faster without scrolling, but I think you have a good start! Good luck!

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  31. Congrats on getting an agent! Your blog is clean and simple. I always like to read a blog bio on the sidebar so I know a little about the person, so you could add that! I'm excited to hear more from you! Thanks for offering query crits. I can never get enough of those! Christy

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  32. You're welcome, and thanks again for the feedback. *dives back into critiquing queries*

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  33. I think everything has pretty well been suggested and I agree with most. I think I would go w/ more of a Firey-orange background though - but that's just me.

    Congrats on acquiring an agent - how amazing that must have felt :o)

    Thnx for this Opp! :o)

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  34. And the entry period is closed! If I have your query, I will get back to you ASAP, but please be patient--I have a TON of them to go through. Thanks again for all the blog feedback through emails and comments here! I'll keep working on it, and hope you stick around. :)

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