Tips for that Great Query

Most publishers and agents accept queries via e-mail in today’s world, but check their guidelines. Remember to be respectful and formal as you would in a query per snail mail. With e-mail queries, it’s recommended you add your contact information at the bottom, under your signature. In the subject line, put your title, and the editor or agent   if it’s not in the e-mail address.

Open up with a great hook. Many agents and editors are busy and don’t always read through the entire e-mail. You need to capture their attention. Think of your query as your selling point or the pitch on the back cover of a book. A paragraph or two is sufficient. Include your word count of finished manuscript, genre, and title.

Break your query into block paragraph format. Forget the indentions and one space between the paragraphs. First one is about your manuscript. The second is the reason you submitted to this particular person or agency. Know the books the agency or editor is looking for and the books they have published. Compare your book to another book that is similar. Third paragraph, name your publishing credits that relate to this genre. Name any associations you belong to and why you are a good candidate to write this story. And last, thank the person or agency for their time.

Don’t mention if you have never been published. Don’t state if anyone has rejected your piece. Don’t bring up payment expectations. Don’t mention copyright information.

Do mention if you have won awards. Do mention if your occupation is relevant to writing the story. Do mention if you belong to any critique groups or writing associations.

I hope this helps. Keep on writing.

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