How to Write a Query Letter

What is a Query Letter? #

A query is a one-page introduction to your book. It should entice the agent or publisher and make them one to read more.

Parts of a Query Letter #

Use this query letter template.

  1. Hook (optional): One or two sentences that grab the agent’s attention
  2. Mini-Synopsis: A short blurb highlighting the conflict and stakes
  3. Specs: Genre, age category, word count, and comp titles (optional)
  4. Bio: Previous traditional publications, short story publications, relevant degrees, and relevant life experience (optional)
  5. Closing: Thank you, name (writing as, if applicable), contact information

Tips #

Get to the good stuff as quickly as possible; only include basic info first if the agent prefers to see specs at the top or directly requested you query.

Don’t be too afraid of giving away the farm. The query shouldn’t give away the ending, but it should include specific details related to the conflict.

Stakes are crucial. A conflict without consequences will not catch an agent’s attention. What is the worst-case scenario for the protagonist?

Play to your strengths. Highlight the most unique aspects of your manuscript, be it setting, voice, plot, characters, or anything else.

Keep it concise. Just because you have one page doesn’t mean you need to use it all. A brief, to-the-point query can make a big impact.

Avoid speaking about your manuscript as the author or a prospective reader. Instead of telling the agent, show them in your mini-synopsis.

More Help #

Book a query critique or a query coaching session with Victoria.

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