The Query Process

This has got to be the scariest part of finding an agent.


With the help of Google, this is the definition of a query letter:

"A query letter is a formal letter sent to magazine editors, literary agents and sometimes publishing houses or companies. Writers write query letters to propose writing ideas."
What's scary about writing a query, is summarizing your 100,000 word novel into 400 words or less. That means, every word used in your query better be a good one! Agents don't play. Queries are a serious matter for your novel, and if an agent doesn't like it, you are sent the letter of doom--also known as a rejection letter. And when your inbox begins to pile up with them, you find yourself in an alternate universe filled with anger, hurt, and confusion (refer to the GIF with Jennifer Lawrence.)

Every query has three paragraphs to it: The hook, The mini-synopsis (don't get me started on a full-synopsis,) and The writer's bio.

However, when I write a query, instead of a long writer's bio--because who am I kidding, I don't even have a bio--I add a closing hook.
The first sentence and the last sentence is extremely important when it comes to writing a query. Not only is it the first and last thing they see, but it's what draws in their attention.

My advice for those writing queries:

-Steer far from long sentences. If there are more than twenty words in your sentence, rewrite it. Agents want short, enticing sentences that don't ruin the flow of your story. So please, don't drown your query with words.

-Don't give your entire plot away. Whenever I read queries, I notice that the writer over-tells the story, or they give away every plot twist. Please, give the reader some space to imagine.

-Do mention who you are and give thanks in your query. I've forgotten to do that once. I was so worried about everything else that I didn't include my name, or best regards. Just imagine how I felt. (Refer to the Jennifer Lawrence GIF if needed.)

-Do allow other people to help you with your query. Unfortunately, your pair of ogles will only get you so far. By having a few people look over it, they'll catch errors that you can't.

Welp, that's all folks!

Got any questions? Leave a comment below.

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