Query Critique and Coaching

Querying literary agents can feel like an endless struggle. You begin querying agents because you believe in your work. But the querying process can leave you feeling deflated and unsure. Are you receiving form rejections and crickets because your story is lacking? Or because your query didn’t hit the right notes?

A query should have the critical elements every strong story needs (and that agents and publishers want to see). But it should also highlight what is unique about the story. It should be concise while illustrating voice and tone. It should be unique but not at the expense of clarity.

There is a balance to strike in a strong query, and that requires patience and practice.

That’s where I come in. I’ve been through this process with my own work and with my clients. I’ve learned to not only craft queries that sell, but to ask the right questions and guide authors as they discover their story in a new way.

Whether you’re feeling stuck in an endless tunnel of rejections or trying to figure out how to write your first query, I can help. We’ll make the process simple, productive, and fun.

Query Coaching

Query coaching is the most effective and efficient way to develop and strengthen your query. During a live Zoom session, we will rewrite your query, combining my querying experience with your personal knowledge of your story. This is the strongest option for writers who are committed to landing an agent.

During this process, we will dig into your characters and story. I’ll ask tough questions, and if there are weaknesses in your story, they’re likely to come to light.

My approach to coaching is much like my editing approach: tough but encouraging. I am honest about what needs work and areas that may become issues. But I recognize that your story means more to you than a stranger can see. During the querying process, the craft of writing meets the business. As a coach, I work to address both sides.

Includes:

  • Preliminary query critique
  • One-hour Zoom session
  • Follow-up notes on revisions

Query Critique

A query critique involves focused feedback on your query. This is the best option if you’re on a budget or if you’re certain your query already contains all of the necessary elements and only needs changes to the way they are presented.

As with all of my query services, the emphasis is on developing a query that sells while remaining true to the story.

Includes:

  • Query critique with notes and edits
  • Follow-up notes on revisions

More Services

In addition to query critiques and query coaching, I offer the following:

  • Synopsis critique
  • Critique of first ten pages
  • Discounted submission package

I have limited availability for full manuscript edits. Feel free to contact me at victoria (at) victoriagriffin (dot) com to check my availability. You can also receive editing and book design services from my handpicked team at Blue Pen.

Testimonials

query critique client debbie romani

“Victoria improved my query package tremendously. Not only is my query letter a better marketing tool, but my synopsis!—I never expected a synopsis could be something which could make readers excited about the overall story, but Victoria’s questions and advice turned the synopsis from something lifeless into an exciting document in its own right. Her comments on my pages were specific enough to provide direction, and broad enough to give me a new eye toward general improvements.

Victoria was prompt and professional. She was also careful to phrase critiques delicately, with an eye to suggesting improvements without being harsh. I am so pleased I hired Victoria!”


Debbie Romani

query critique client john hearon

“As a new writer, I found myself drowning in a sea of information I found on the internet regarding querying, first ten pages, synopsis, and such. Blue Pen editing tossed me a line, showed me how to swim, and pointed me toward the shore.

Their services have been positive and professional. My manuscript has taken a giant leap forward, as well as my belief in my abilities. If you are like me and serious about reaching your publishing goals, I would highly recommend this service.”


John Hearon

query critique client notebook coffee

“To any author who is considering getting their query read and revised but isn’t quite sure, please do it. The feedback I received on both my query letter and sample pages was extremely helpful and pointed out things I had hardly considered. My query letter is completely unrecognizable in the best way possible. Victoria was also very easy to reach out to and approachable. I had no worries about emailing or communicating with her at all.

In summary: She’s experienced, easy to work with, and very good at what she does. It’s worth every penny and I highly recommend her services, because I don’t think I would have made as much progress in my querying process without her.”


Grace Papas

query critique client sharon blevins

“I was at a point in my querying journey that required professional direction. I didn’t know what to improve and felt stuck. Victoria immediately reassured me and gave me hope to find and fix the problems.

I am so glad I took that first step to inquire about services with Blue Pen. I was uncertain how to proceed with improving my writing and querying and once I had that first conversation, I immediately felt at ease. A writing career is important enough to seek and secure professional help in order to keep moving forward. I only wish I had sought the services of Victoria Griffin much earlier!”


Sharon Blevins

“I have been following Victoria and Blue Pen since their beginnings, and I love how professional Victoria is in everything she does. I think she knows the publishing industry and can provide aspiring writers with great insight into the secrets of the trade.

I love how she made me feel comfortable talking about my project and that she understood all the different aspects of my novel. Victoria was a perfect match for me. I don’t know about others, but I would be a returning customer.”


Maya

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FAQs

Do you offer submission packages?

Yes, you can book a submission package to receive editing for your synopsis and first ten pages.

What if I don’t have a draft of my query?

We can start from scratch during a query coaching session!

Can I show you my revisions after the query critique?

Yes, your query critique includes feedback on your revised version.

What is special about the query coaching session?

During a query coaching session, we get to have a real-time conversation, with me asking important questions and digging deeply into your story. This can be far more effective than the traditional method of critiquing the query in isolation.