Thinking you’ll need to find a literary agent at some time in the near, or distant, future? There’s no time like the present to start researching the query process.
Sure, a one-page letter seems insignificant in relation to the 300+ pages of your book, but don’t be deceived. Writing a successful query letter takes a great deal of thought and, most likely, several revisions before it will be ready to send off to agents.
Check out the following 15 websites and articles to help you better understand the query process, and write the best query letter possible:
- Query Shark, Janet Reid picks apart your query letters
- The Public Query Slushpile, Have your query critiqued by fellow writers
- Successful Queries, A compilation of winning queries, Guide to Literary Agents
- How to Write a Query, Agent Query
- What You Need Before You Query, Janet Reid, Literary Agent
- What’s NOT a Query Letter, Janet Reid, Literary Agent
- Query Letter Mad Lib, Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent
- How (and Whether) to List Your Publishing Credits, Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent
- What Should You Write in the Bio Paragraph of a Query Letter, Guide to Literary Agents
- Top Ten Query Mistakes, Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent
- 10 Query Letter No-Nos, Writer’s Digest
- Basics of a Solid 3-Paragraph Query, Writer’s Digest
- How to Write a Successful Query, Writing-World.com
- Winning Query Letters, Charlotte Dillon
- The Query Letter in 3 Parts, Editor Unleashed
Have you come across any other great resources?
What’s the best advice you’ve found about how to write a successful query letter?
Join the discussion
Lydia Sharp says
You listed all the sites I would have recommended, and then some. The best advice I’ve received is to view your query the same way you do your story, in the sense that you should have trusted readers look at it and help you with revisions.
I would also try it out on people who know nothing about your book or the writing industry. Family and friends, even strangers. Pitch your story to anyone and everyone, and see what type of response you get. These are your potential readers, your audience, the people who are going to spend their hard-earned money on your book. When you look at it from that perspective, it only makes sense to go out and pitch the “meat” of your query (what the story is about) to as many people as possible.
By doing this, you will understand very quickly why brevity is so important. People are impatient, especially if they don’t know you. If you don’t hook them in the first sentence, forget it. They’re on to something else.
And I can’t take any credit for that. I got that idea from screenwriter Blake Snyder in his book Save The Cat!, which I think every novelist should read.
.-= Read Lydia Sharp´s last article ..How Much Do You Love Your Story? =-.
That’s great advice to try out your query on people who know nothing about your book. I think sometimes we have a tendency to gloss over important details because that story is so fully formed in our minds. And yes, brevity is key. Thanks, Lydia!
Also check out the Query Tracker Blog. They have great advice.
Thanks for this! I did originally have QueryTracker on my list, but I took it off because I didn’t think they really had advice on query letter writing. I didn’t realize they had a blog associated with it. I’ll have to check it out 🙂
Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist says
I’m no where close to the query process but I am in the middle of writing a synopsis of my current WIP. And man it is hard! Reading query tips is actually very helpful for developing my synopsis though, so thanks for the tips.
.-= Read Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist´s last article ..Paying it forward, backwards and sideways =-.
I’m nowhere near querying yet, either, but it’s never too early to start learning about it. I think knowing how a successful query works even helps with the actual writing of your novel, in many ways.
Best of luck with your synopsis!
.-= Read suzannah´s last article ..15 Resources for a Better Query Letter =-.
Ian@ Book Marketing says
Fantastic resource! I’ve just been to one of the links and lost myself for 20 minutes. Thanks so much!