A New Hashtag! #querywin

Just before bed last Thursday, August 25th, I was bebopping around Twitter (like you do), and I noticed my lovely online friend Laura Heffernan discussing harsh tweets she saw about her work during the querying process.

It hit me hard because just a few weeks prior, a client told me about the time she cried after reading an agent’s tweet that was clearly talking about an R&R my client had done.

So I started thinking—to see the organic, original Twitter musings, check out the Storify. But the upshot is that I worry writers may be hurt more than they’re helped by comments agents make using hashtags like #tenqueries and #querytip. Even when we have the best intentions and try to avoid snark, writers know we’re talking about them and, understandably, may take it personally.

The comments flooded in, of course. Some agents shared my concern. Some writers had similar stories to tell. Some people thought the benefits of #tenqueries, particularly the opportunity to learn, outweighed any drawbacks.

I went to bed without answers, but I woke up on Friday to a tweet from a writer saying he preferred reading about queries that worked. And I got an idea…

An idea for a hashtag focused only on queries that lead to requests. The Twitter world responded with enthusiasm, and I launched a poll to ask what the new hashtag should be. #querysuccess had some strong supporters, but with brevity and adorableness, #querywin, as befitting its name, won.

For clarity, here’s what I’m envisioning for the hashtag:

  • When I make a request, I’ll tweet using the #querywin hashtag in a similar format to what I’d post for #tenqueries. I’ll include the genre and what I liked about the query, focusing on things that could be beneficial for other writers to know.
  • I won’t be doing ten at a time—unfortunately, as we all know, there are more passes than requests in our inboxes, and I think it’ll be easiest to just tweet a #querywin when it comes.
  • I’m certainly not trying to replace #tenqueries or #querytip or anything else. People enjoy those hashtags and find them useful. But I hope that #querywin will be a feed of positivity for querying writers.

To give you an idea, this was my first #querywin tweet:

One person voiced concern that writers would read too much into a #querywin and would then feel additional disappointment if the agent ultimately passed. I can see the potential for that, but I hope writers will be able to accept a #querywin for what it is—a victory at this particular stage of the publishing process. There are many steps on the road to publication, many opportunities for success or failure, and I think it’s important to celebrate every achievement. That’s my intent for #querywin.

So all I need now are for more agents to participate! Many thanks to those of you who have already helped spread the word about this new endeavor. Please continue to tweet about it! And if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment below or reach out on Twitter.