Monday, August 31, 2009

Some Major Elements of a Query Letter

Summarized (but not written) by Jason

For those writers who don’t like reading (shame on you), here is an abbreviated summary from the instructions found at regarding how to write a query letter:

— a single page cover letter that introduces you and your book

— has 3 concise paragraphs:
a.) the hook - a concise, one-sentence tagline that describes the book and generates interest
b.) the mini-synopsis - an intriguing, one-paragraph summary (about 150 words) of the entire book; should have a little more info about your main characters and their conflicts; the conflict of the book should be captured in this paragraph
c.) the author’s biography - keep it short and related to writing

The closing of your query letter should do two things:
1.) thank the agent for his or her time and consideration
2.) if it’s non-fiction, tell the agent you’ve included an outline, table of contents and sample characters for review. (if it’s a fiction book, tell the agent your full manuscript is available upon request, but don’t query any agents until your fiction manuscript is completely finished).

What a Query Letter is NOT:
— Not a resume or a life story
— Not casual or "buddy-buddy" friendly
— Never more than 1 page

I’ve posted this summary to entice you to visit The information above is just to help us get started. The site actually has more “do’s” and “don’ts” under the “How to Write a Query” link.

P.S. For all you fiction-writers, here is an actual agent's invaluable blog called "Query Shark," where writers send her their query letters and she critiques them. It's a great resource.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks!! Just what I've been search for! Phyllis