Writing a Query Letter

Do’s:

  • Address it to an agent within the agency personally
  • Show us that you understand our business–how and where did you find out about us?
  • Give me your credentials: professional and list of publications if applicable
  • What is it (the book project) and why did you write it: in brief
  • Write the letter in a style that represents you, while respecting business conventions
  • Always include an SASE or an e-mail address
  • Keep your letter under two pages
  • Please provide all contact information including a working email account.
  • If you send your letter by email, put QUERY in the subject line.
  • Nonfiction: Tell us who will read your book and why. Demonstrate that you understand the positioning for your book on the shelf.
  • Memoir and Fiction: Begin your query with a one-sentence hook line that conveys the premise and uniqueness of your book.
  • Read this post: Query Killers

Don’ts:

  • “I’m writing three books”–sell us one book–the book you care about most
  • “Every book I’ve ever written has been turned down, but I’m sure that you’ll see its merits”
  • Refer us to your website for reading sample
  • Include  “laudatory” rejection letter from another agent
  • Don’t call me to find out if I received your letter or call me cold and expect a call back
  • Avoid saying things like “I’ve never queried an agent before.”

Bottom Line:
If you want to be taken seriously, do your homework. Read books on the publishing process before you contact us. Give us what we are looking for and we will treat you with respect. It’s not our job to give you a detailed assessment of your project, but we do try to respond to every letter we receive.