How to Write a Query Letter

query-letterAfter you’ve done your research and written the blurb for your book, it’s time to write your query letter. Don’t make this more complicated than it actually is. Every editor/agent/assistant is looking at a few key pieces of information and the blurb/book pitch. Here’s how you write your letter.

LETTER SET UP

Dear [AGENT/EDITOR NAME],

[OPTIONAL PERSONAL INTRO]. I am submitting for your consideration my [GENRE] novel, [TITLE], complete at [##,###] words.

[BLURB]

[OPTIONAL RELEVANT PERSONAL INFO]

Per your submissions requirements, I am providing [WHAT YOU’RE PROVIDING].

Thank you very much for taking the time to consider [TITLE]. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

[CONTACT INFO]

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Address the Person

Do NOT send out a blanket form letter. You’ve done your research. Address the query directly to the editor or agent you are querying. And yes, it is appropriate, to address it to Mr. or Ms. [insert last name].

Optional Personal Intro

If, during your research of the editor or agent, you have found information specific to what they are looking for or who/what they represent which might make them partial to your query, include it in the intro. For example:

“I saw on your recent blog post that you are looking for fresh new romantic comedy voices.”

“I saw that you represent Author XYZ, and believe you would enjoy my voice.”

PLEASE NOTICE that these examples are not a dissertation. One or two short sentences tops.

Optional Relevant Personal Info

After the blurb, if you have any relevant personal information to help the editor or agent with their decision. Keep this section short–1 to 2 sentences tops. This is not a full resume or a roll call of your accomplishments. Highlight the top 1 or 2 pieces of information which are most impactful to that editor or agent. Information can include the following:

  • awards
  • bestselling status
  • publications
  • organizations you are active in
  • possibly a quote from a review (short and relevant)

What You’re Providing

During your research, you may have come across a list of what the editor or agent wants you to provide in the query. Usually this involves something like a synopsis and/or a partial manuscript (1-3 chapters). Rarely do they want a full manuscript with the query. Sometimes, depending on why you are querying, they may ask for more information about you. Be sure to read the query instructions on their website in detail.

In this paragraph you show that you read those and are providing the information requested. This may be a sentence as short as, “Per you submission requirements, I am providing the first three chapters (attached).” Or it may be a paragraph with additional information.

Leave this paragraph out if they only want the query letter.

Contact Info

After your signature, make sure to provide your contact information. This includes:

  • Your Name
  • Writes as Your Pen Name
  • Your Email Address
  • Your Website
  • Your Mailing Address

EXAMPLE LETTER

Dear Ms. Agent,

I saw that you are currently looking for a new romantic comedy voice. I am submitting for your consideration my romantic comedy, THE WRONG KIND OF COMPATIBLE, complete at 48,000 words.

Data analyst Cassie Howard may be brilliant (and, okay, a little awkward), but she’s worked hard to get where she is. She definitely doesn’t need some sexy new analyst coming in and taking credit for her work. Or the inappropriate thoughts that keep popping out of her mouth she’d rather he not hear.

For undercover FBI agent Drew Kerrigan, computers have always made more sense than people, but he’d better develop some slick social skills in a hurry if he’s going to win over the too-tantalizing-for-his-sanity Cassie. Hacking their systems was easy. Now he’s just got to hack the one person in the company most likely to see through his ruse…

I am currently published with XYZ Press with a 3-book contemporary romance series completed. My contemporary romance, Saving the Sheriff, won first place in the 2016 Emily Awards. I am also an active member of LMN Organization.

Per your submissions requirements, I am providing the synopsis and first chapter (attached).

Thank you very much for taking the time to consider The Wrong Kind of Compatible. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Abigail Owen

Abigail Owen
Writing as Kadie Scott
authorkadiescott@gmail.com
http://www.kadie-scott.com
1000 Mailing Address St.
Austin, TX 12345

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s