Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
* * * * - 3 votes

HOW TO WRITE A QUERY LETTER


  • Please log in to reply
57 replies to this topic

#41 FredRivas

FredRivas

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I've had one story published alongside Neil Gaiman, loosely based on one of my novel's chapters.

Posted 22 March 2015 - 02:19 PM

Everything I've read lately (and as shown in the Writer's Digest series "Successful Queries") states that there is a fourth paragraph dealing with the hard information of the novel. The title,word count and genre. Also, in this paragraph it is quite common to draw similarites to other well-known novels.

Should I omit this paragraph when posting a query to this site? Also omit it when sending queries to agents?

Thanks for your help.



#42 Ireth

Ireth

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,800 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationCanada

Posted 22 March 2015 - 02:35 PM

Some omit it when posting to the site because they want feedback only on the plot stuff. That's up to you. Definitely do NOT omit it when querying to agents.


There's too much blood in my tea system. Time to put the kettle on.

 

~~~

 

All projects except WINTER'S QUEEN are currently on hiatus until further notice. Thank you!

 

Queries:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...e-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...orical-fantasy/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...sea-ya-fantasy/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing On Edges: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Bellringer: http://agentquerycon...ringer-fantasy/

 

Hooks:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...tasy-hook-help/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...k-epic-fantasy/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

Moonhunter: http://agentquerycon...ya-xenofiction/

Song of the Sea: http://agentquerycon...ong-of-the-sea/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/

Dancing on Edges: http://agentquerycon...asy-query-hook/

 

Synopses:

Winter's Queen: http://agentquerycon...een-ya-fantasy/

Tenth Realm: http://agentquerycon...ntasy-synopsis/

Low Road: http://agentquerycon...fantasyvampire/

My Soul to Keep: http://agentquerycon...porary-fantasy/


#43 FredRivas

FredRivas

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I've had one story published alongside Neil Gaiman, loosely based on one of my novel's chapters.

Posted 23 March 2015 - 07:49 PM

Thanks. That sounds like good advice.



#44 MrMidnight

MrMidnight

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 60 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 05 June 2015 - 04:37 AM

That's been my big stumbling block--I realize the rules have changed for e-mail query (I still don't have a Kindle...  :huh: ), but call it the "Elevator pitch", and I still can't imagine myself turning toward an editor I've never met, in an elevator at the SCBWI Conference, and suddenly starting the conversation with "Bill was having the worst week of his life..."

 

Sure we can't do, y'know...just a LITTLE ritual business-letter formality?  Or should I just go ahead, join the throng, and "show the movie trailer" right up in front of the feature, with the big title-reveal at the end?

(Yeah, and even movie trailers aren't what they used to be, ten years ago.)

agreed. Times are changing pretty quick. who knows what will be going on or in demand in 5yrs. Will we be streaming whole book to our brains? will books and reading become a dead medium?


If you found my advice/help useful

please consider paying it forward

by checking out my query letter.

I'm in serious need of reviews/critiques.

 

 


#45 Dharshaini

Dharshaini

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 57 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUnited Kingdom

Posted 07 September 2015 - 02:45 PM

I'm wondering just how much of the book writers should reveal in a query. Queryshark says not more than Act 1, but I've seen many great queries going way beyond Act 1 and revealing the major twists of the books. Help would be much appreciated! =)



#46 dogsbody

dogsbody

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 518 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 07 September 2015 - 07:34 PM

I'm wondering just how much of the book writers should reveal in a query. Queryshark says not more than Act 1, but I've seen many great queries going way beyond Act 1 and revealing the major twists of the books. Help would be much appreciated! =)

 

Query Shark has a lot of baseline "rules," but she's the first to admit that you can write a great query while still breaking some (or even all) of them. 

 

I'd try to write a "standard" query, see if you can get the hang of it. And then if inspiration strikes and you think you can do better, and a little different... post that here, too.  :biggrin:



#47 Dharshaini

Dharshaini

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 57 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUnited Kingdom

Posted 08 September 2015 - 05:53 AM

Query Shark has a lot of baseline "rules," but she's the first to admit that you can write a great query while still breaking some (or even all) of them. 

 

I'd try to write a "standard" query, see if you can get the hang of it. And then if inspiration strikes and you think you can do better, and a little different... post that here, too.  :biggrin:

 

Thank you very much for the advice! I'm relieved to hear that there aren't any hard rules for how much the query should cover. I suppose it should be okay to put in some spoilers, even though I guess we won't be doing that for the blurb? I think I thought the query is supposed to be identical to the blurb. =)



#48 spanishgirl

spanishgirl

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:none. so far

Posted 23 September 2015 - 09:42 PM

HI everyone,  I am new to the site and want to know if this is the right place to get my query critiqued. Barbara



#49 Sumatra

Sumatra

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:I have written for magazines and self-published a travel memoir.

Posted 29 September 2015 - 07:21 PM

Hope so...this is where I put mine today. Good luck!!



#50 Spaulding

Spaulding

    Frumpy Old Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Nothing but a couple of nonfiction articles ages ago.

Posted 06 November 2015 - 06:13 PM

This is cool! I spent a couple of months searching online to learn how to write a query. Of course, I ran into AQ's winning queries. That's what landed me on this site. But I didn't know, until I stumbled on this thread, that I based my query on the instructions given in the first post. (It was familiar. I just didn't connect it to this site.  :blush: )

 

I used it to write my query, and then posted it on another writing site. Many there told me not to include a hook. No idea where they got that one, other than how it used to be in the olden-days, but I'm thrilled this post is five years old and still is the industry standards. So many changes in the last five years, but this isn't one of them!

 

So, little did I know I had to come across this site twice before it dawned on me this place is special! From me three months ago when I didn't know any better, and from me even now as I'm sweating out having my query torn apart on this same forum, (who thought I'd be more nervous because no one is busting it apart yet? :wacko: ), thank you! From both mes.  :wub:  And thank you, from future me, when it is busted apart!


If I helped you, please critique my query -- The Comfort Ban.

Or the synopsis. (If you're in a particularly cheery mood, I'll accept a crit for both. Better yet, if you're in a foul mood, take it out on both.  :wink: )


#51 Bill in Memphis

Bill in Memphis

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 563 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS South
  • Publishing Experience:First novel release date is August 17th, 2016, from Dingbat Publishing.

Posted 06 December 2015 - 02:33 PM

I don't know if anyone ever reads this thread, but if so, I found a fantastic blog entry written by Agent Sarah Jane Freymann -- the owner of the agency by the same name. I very much like what she says about the query process, particularly the idea of sharing our passion instead of trying to do the cookie-cutter approach to queries. If you are interested, this is the link: http://www.sarahjane...fect_pitch.html

 

I just came across this and, sadly, the link is borken. ): Can anyone paraphrase?


Follow me on twitter @jointhebrigade1

 

Please visit my website and blog at: http://thelastbrigade.com/

 


#52 Bill in Memphis

Bill in Memphis

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 563 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS South
  • Publishing Experience:First novel release date is August 17th, 2016, from Dingbat Publishing.

Posted 06 December 2015 - 02:35 PM

Great thread everyone! It was very helpful to a new member here. I haven't written a QL in thirty years and things have obviously changed a lot!


Follow me on twitter @jointhebrigade1

 

Please visit my website and blog at: http://thelastbrigade.com/

 


#53 Spaulding

Spaulding

    Frumpy Old Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Nothing but a couple of nonfiction articles ages ago.

Posted 07 December 2015 - 10:08 AM

I just came across this and, sadly, the link is borken. ): Can anyone paraphrase?

I copy/pasted her name in google, which sent me to her site, which includes a menu item for The Perfect Pitch.


If I helped you, please critique my query -- The Comfort Ban.

Or the synopsis. (If you're in a particularly cheery mood, I'll accept a crit for both. Better yet, if you're in a foul mood, take it out on both.  :wink: )


#54 sherilynnmarean@gmail.com

sherilynnmarean@gmail.com

    Tiggrtou/Sheri Marean

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 181 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:release date is March 8th, 2016
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01B5BJLZC

Posted 06 January 2016 - 04:23 PM

I was working on my blur/description for my book and found a great formula, one that was made for query letters, so I thought I'd share the link here if anyone is interested. http://blog.nathanbr...er-mad-lib.html



#55 BlarneyShamrock

BlarneyShamrock

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, self-published
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 29 April 2017 - 04:58 PM

How long is the query letter supposed to be? Some say between 250-350 words while others are screaming 150-250 words. Is there no 100% correct answer? 



#56 LucidDreamer

LucidDreamer

    Pragmatic Dreamer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,054 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, written as Victoria Gilbert. 1st book -- A MURDER FOR THE BOOKS -- releasing from Crooked Lane Books in December 2017. Book Two -- SHELVED UNDER MURDER -- will be published in July 2018 and untitled as of yet book three in Jan. or Feb. 2019.

Posted 29 April 2017 - 05:35 PM

There is no absolute set standard. Anything UP to 350 words, usually, although I have seen longer queries achieve great results too.



#57 johng

johng

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 10 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:a few short stories. two songs published in France. the first digital medical text in 1984.

Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:30 AM

There is an industry-standard query letter format. Do you know what it is?

We do.

In fact, AgentQuery.com helped set the industry-standard through our crazy popular website, AgentQuery.com and our top-ranked Google article, "How to Write a Query Letter."

As a result, the literary agents in our AQ database expect, want, and prefer to receive queries that follow our query letter formula of three concise paragraphs: the hook, the mini-synopsis, and your writer’s biography. It helps them shift through the hundreds of queries that they receive each week to find fresh talent and new clients.


For this reason, when you post your query here for feedback, all AQ Connect members will assume you have read our "How to Write a Query Letter" and will expect you to follow our query letter format. Again, that's three paragraphs: hook, mini-synopsis, and bio.
Don’t stray TOO far from this format. You won’t catch an agent’s attention by inventing a creative new query format. And you won't receive positive feedback on AQ Connect unless you follow this industry-standard query formula.

 

"And you won't receive positive feedback on AQ Connect unless you follow this industry-standard query formula."   That ain't exactly correct.  Is there a King here?   Some of us may give you positive feedback if we think the query letter is good.  The article and instruction are fine, should be encouraged,  but there are always exceptions and maybe someone will find a better formula. Matter of fact you can throw out paragraph 3 for many of us -- whose history might better be unsaid. 



#58 SLDuncan

SLDuncan

    Mister Doubtfire

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 275 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:Books. Comics. Ill advised emails. Represented by John Rudolph of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. THE EVOLUTION OF GABRIEL ADAM (Book 3, The Revelation Saga Medallion Press - August, 2016).

Posted 30 September 2017 - 03:26 PM

Just strolling memory lane. :)




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users