Friday, May 20, 2011

FFW: Writing That Query Letter

For Fantastic Friday Writers, the topic is Query Letters.  I'm hardly the expert on this subject, but I'll share what I know. : )

You should always check the agent’s or publisher’s guidelines before sending out a query.  A lot of them will let you know what they’re looking for.  If they’re vague, these tips might help. : )

Keep a query to one page.  They should include the title, genre, word count, a brief description of your work and any experience/credentials you may have.

Keep it professional.  Though your writing personality may show, remember this is a business venture.  Don’t begin with, “Hey there, I just finished my first book and since you represent cool stuff, I wondered if you’d publish mine too.”  *wink* 

Address the query to a specific individual, not “To whom it may concern”, or “Dear Agent”.  Do some research.  Some companies have several agents/editors that work with specific genres.  Address your query to the right person to decrease the chances it will get lost in the slush pile.

Just an example...

Dear Mr./Ms. NAME,

George didn’t come to Chicago to exchange body fluids … well, maybe he did but not like this! (HOOK) He thought vampires were fantasies stuck in places like crypts, B-movies and corporate America, but when he is made into one, the hunters turned out to be just as real too and they want him dead. (CONFLICT) Life might suck, yet undeath bites as George discovers in his search for a cure that doesn’t involve stakes, sunlight or super powered ninja-nuns. (RESOLUTION)

SPURNED AND TURNED is an 80,000-word humorous novel. It is similar to Moore’s Bloodsucking Fiends and takes place over a period of one week. I wrote this as a deliberate mockumentary towards all the recent vampire/supernatural romances that have flooded the market as of late.

I am member of the Chicago Writer’s Guild of North America and an active journalist for the Chicago Sun Times. I am the recipient of the Chicago Star for creative writing and one of my short stories was awarded second place in the Humorous Tales Competition of Illinois in 2006.

Thank you for your time and attention.


I found this example at Writing Hood and wanted to share it.  Personally, I’d put the title and word count in the first paragraph, and let them know I’d be happy to send them a copy of my manuscript upon request.

Good luck in your query writing! 

Check out the other Fantastic Friday Writers’ blogs!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The 'don't begin with' is funny! I'm sure some people do, though.

Anastasia V. Pergakis said...

HAHAH Great post! I love the "don't begin with" line also and the query letter example was hilarious yet still professional!

J. D. Brown said...

BAHAHAHA! That's a great example! And to see a serious version of the same thing (*eye roll*) check out my blog at

Charlene A. Wilson said...

I really am bad at writing a query letter. Lol.