[REVIEW] Make It Catchy – Marta Acosta

Marta Acosta
Make It Catchy: The Quintessential Guide to Writing Query Letters
Badinage Press (US: 21st June 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Though my writing days are over, I’m still very much interested in the publishing industry and inside info. And if the insiders are people of whom I’ve actually heard, all the better.

These 62 pages are short, sharp, and to the point – serious, but still inspiring. Marta Acosta has been with six agents (I only knew about the last three), and she’s still standing, thanks to an eye toward the future whilst keeping her backlist available in various formats.

New-to-me information includes some websites I hadn’t subscribed to before, as well as permission/encouragement to be “a little flamboyant” in the hook. Maybe it’s my Australian wariness of Tall Poppy Syndrome, but that feels awkward. You shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep – I hate it when publicity says something is “unmissable”, “everyone’s talking about”, etc, because IT’S JUST SO SNARKABLE. (Maybe I’ve watched too many programme promos on TV…) But to each their own.

Whilst it’s a pretty good compilation of advice, it’d be better served by perhaps adding the query letters that enticed her most recent agents – i.e., the manuscripts that sold. They would be true examples of query letters that work.

Also, the author’s “completely unmarketable first novel”? I want to know all about it! That’s a totally normal response, yes?


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