Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Query Letters That Actually Worked to Catch an Agent or Publisher

Query letters are a bear to write. So many writers who have finally published their novels, memoirs, or nonfiction books remember the agonizing process of learning how to write and refine this all-important document. It's the first thing an agent or editor (if you bypass an agent) will see of your work, so not only does it need to carry the flavor and tone of your writing, it needs to be catchy, snappy, and slick enough to stand out, while being heart-felt and authentic at the same time.


I've personally worked harder, sometimes, on my query and synopsis than on many parts of my books. I've hired editors and coaches to just help me hone the query--that paid off, by the way--and I've given myself many months to work on it so the process didn't feel rushed. It does require a different part of the creative self than the manuscript, though, and I often found it tough to toggle between the deep immersion of writing and living in story and the marketing focus a query required.

Because, really, it is a marketing piece. You are selling the concept of your book to someone who may or may not be interested.

Agents get so many of these. I've heard from one agent the astonishing number of 2000 queries a week. Hard to believe, but maybe not. Lots of people writing these days and hoping to get published.

One great way to learn about query writing, compare your efforts to those that worked, is to read queries that sold.

Here's a great little article to peruse this week from Galley Cat online newsletter. If you can't access it through the link, search for "Galley Cat" then "query letters that worked."

Happy querying! Here's the link. Or cut and paste into your browser:


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