Query Letters

You’ll have to excuse me while I swoon. I had to write a query letter.  Not even a query with accompanying pages.  Just the letter.  Ugh.

I’m not sure why I think I stand-alone query is so swoon worthy but I do.  But I sat down and made myself write it, let it sit for a day, and then rewrote it.  Then off it went so that I couldn’t play around with it for another two weeks and miss the deadline.

For those of you who have never written a query, it is the letter you use to entice an agent to request your manuscript.  To do this, it has to be a tempting business letter.  This is what I included.

Paragraph 1. The Hook.

This is the paragraph you use to hook the agent and make them want to read on in both the letter and in your manuscript.  I used a surprising fact about the whole body commitment that goes into vomiting.  Yep.  A book on the science of vomit.  Classy!

Paragraph #2.  The Book.

This paragraph gives the title, length and a bit on the audience as well as info on the book itself.  In this case I included section titles so that the editor will see that it is cheeky and scientific.  Like I said, classy.  I also include information on the research and sources in this paragraph.  I make sure the agent knows there is primary research including journal articles and an interview.

Paragraph #3.  So Self-Centered It Hurts.

This is the paragraph all about me. If I was approaching an editor, this would be the “why you want me and only me to write this book” paragraph.  Because this went to an agent, it was about the scope of my work and other pieces ready to submit.

Paragraph #4.  Why We’d Be a Great Match.

This is going to vary agent to agent.  In this case I included what she has to say about children’s lit that is reflected in my own work.  Oh, look. We have so much in common!

Will it tempt her to request the manuscript?  I sure hope so.  But if not I have another victim . . . I mean agent . . . in mind.  I’ll keep you posted!

–SueBE

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