GET YOUR QUERY LETTER READY by Theresa RaganNow that you have fine-tuned and polished your entry for the GH, it’s time to get your query letter written. A query letter is a short letter introducing you and your book. Here are some Do’s and Do not’s:
Do keep the letter professional.
Do try and keep the letter to one page
Do your research and spell the agent/editor’s name correctly
Do spend time making your query letter shine!
Do not use fancy paper or fonts
Do not send your query by Fed Ex or in anything requiring a signature
Do not address the agent/editor as Sir or Ma’am.
Do not draw attention to your negatives (i.e. you’re not published; you’re a new writer; you’re busy with kids; if you don’t like it, I will revise it, etc.)
Within the body of your query:
1) Clearly state the word count and what kind of story you have written, but remember that the tone of the letter should reflect the tone of the book.
2) Include a high-concept hook, a paragraph or two about your book, including the main conflict. This paragraph should grab the agent/editor and make them want to read your book! Spend time on this paragraph.
3) Keep the closing simple and professional: “I’d be happy to send you a partial or full manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. A SASE is enclosed.”
That’s it. Get busy. All questions and comments are welcome.
If you google “writing a query letter” you’ll get all the help you could possibly need on writing queries. So instead of offering an even longer list of Do’s and Do Not’s, I am inviting anyone who needs help with their query to post all or part of their query and the Wet Noodle Posse will give you feedback.
Agentquery.com suggests using three paragraphs in your letter; a one-sentence hook, a mini-synopsis of your book, and a writer’s bio. See http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx for details. Lots of great info here.