do and don't · how to get a request for pages · query problems

How to write a query letter

A query letter’s main function is conveying the pitch for a book. But it has more moving parts than that. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown, with links to more detailed how-to posts on that section. Salutation: “Dear Firstname,” or “Dear Ms. Lastname,” PARAGRAPH 1 Optional intro: A sentence about how you found them: “I read your… Continue reading How to write a query letter

do and don't · query problems

Violating guidelines on purpose

A query today announced that the author understood we request a certain number of pages pasted into the email. However, they were attaching the whole thing for us. This isn’t just an auto-reject. I deleted the email. Saying they read the guidelines and then disregarding them shows disrespect for the literary agent. The consequences of… Continue reading Violating guidelines on purpose

do and don't · query problems

Is My Query Letter Ready For Submission?

Check it out: a flowchart to check your query before submitting to agents. I got to help with its creation (thanks, David!) and I love how comprehensive this is. Now instead of thumbing through the archives here for a final check, you can bring up this handy image. Reposted with permission from DavidRSlayton.com.   Retweet… Continue reading Is My Query Letter Ready For Submission?

do and don't · how to break the rules well · writing problems

Quotes under chapter headings

Starting each chapter with a quote is a frustrating trend among writers. I see multiple manuscripts every day do this. I never read the quotes. I’m reading to get a sense of the writing style and plotting capability. I don’t care about some pretty words the author dreamed up to give voice to historical backstory.… Continue reading Quotes under chapter headings

do and don't · how to get a request for pages

The one-line pitch

Editors love one-line pitches. Well-written queries usually have one among the genre and comps: TITLE is a fantasy adventure that chases a mischievous, world-ending ghul across industrial Mumbai. TITLE is steampunk fantasy where Evangeline Denmark’s CURIO meets Steven Harper’s THE DOOMSDAY VAULT. Editors appreciate one-liners because it helps them pitch their bosses. When an acquiring… Continue reading The one-line pitch

do and don't · how to get a request for pages · query problems

Queries: summarize the first 50 pages

When writing your query letter, summarize the first 50 pages of the book. This is enough to hook agents without giving too much away. (That’s what the synopsis is for.) A stellar query will help you after representation, too. After you sign, your agent pitches your book to acquiring editors. Many agents use the original… Continue reading Queries: summarize the first 50 pages