Writing A Query: part three

October 23, 2011

This is the final blog on query writing. I hope the last post didn’t worry you. ‘Do Not’ lists tend to take on a negative tone. When someone tells me not to do something, I often do it anyway, but hopefully, you took note.

Here’s a brief rundown on what should be in a query.


  1. Be professional, in every way. This includes spelling, salutations, and structure.
  2. Begin your query with a direct connection. If you’ve met the agent before, remind her or him. If not, mention why you are writing to them specifically. Do you like another author they represent? Did you hear them speak at a conference?
  3. Give them the reason you are writing: such as, you want them to consider representing you and your book (give the title of your book here and now).
  4. Add the word-count to your manuscript.
  5. What’s the genre and who will read it? Say so.
  6. The second or third paragraph should be a summary of your entire book, complete with a compelling hook. Hard to do? Yes.
  7. In the next paragraph do a brief marketing piece and compare your book to another book or two.  If another novel with a similar voice or structure was hugely popular, that might help your book find success with the same audience. This paragraph should also prove that you’ve done your homework and know the industry. However, do not (okay, so I snuck one ‘do not’ in here) say that you will become the next JK Rowling.
  8. Give your professional credentials that relate to the book.
  9. Thank the agent for considering your work.
  10. After you sign your name, let them know what you are including (remember, only include what is asked in the submission guidelines!).

Good luck!


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