Query Letter Made Easy

Designing an attention grabbing Query Letter is the next step after you’ve polished your novel, so you can grab an agent/editor’s attention.

 

Over the past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Emerald City Writers’ Conference. I was inspired by the many classes, pitching opportunities, and inspirational speakers such as Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, and Cherry Adair. I was also fortunate to hear a panel of editors and agents who talked about the business end of writing and shared their insight on publishing in today’s market. One comment was to make the query letter simple—they do not want to read about you as an author other than pertinent information regarding writing credentials, contests, and the particular novel hook and mini-synopsis.

Emerald City RWA member and Award Winning Author Heather Davis led a pre-pitch group session to help hone our pitches for the following day.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A PITCH:  After pitching your novel to an editor or agent, you may receive one of the following responses:

  • I think I’ll pass on your project. (Send a Thank You E-Mail).
  • Please send me a query, first page of your manuscript (MS), and a one page synopsis
  • Please send me a query, partial (3 chapters or first 50 pages), and a 1-3 page synopsis
  • I’d like to read the full. Please include a query letter along with a 1-3 page synopsis.

SEND IN THE REQUESTED MATERIAL IMMEDIATELY. EDITORS/AGENTS REALLY DO WANT TO READ YOUR NOVEL.

Using my previous blogs titled The Hook and The Five Sentence Synopsis, I will demonstrate how to assemble a query letter.

THE QUERY LETTER: The query letter should consist of the follow and nothing else.

  • Single Page
  • Your Contact Information
  • Agent Editor Contact Information
  • Subject
  • The Hook
  • The Mini Synopsis
  • Your biography regarding your writing experience, awards, and publications
  • Thank you sentence
  • Salutation

 EXAMPLE :

Cyndi Faria                                                                                                     November 1, 2011
123 Alphabet Road
Paradise, CA  95555
(916) 555-5555
E-Mail: cyndifaria@yahoo.com
Website: www.cyndifaria.com
Twitter: @cyndifaria
 
Agent Name, Agent Title
Agency Name
Agent Contact Information
 
Subject:    SNAPPY TITLE (Danger in the Yucatan)
                     75,000 Words (Word Count), Romantic Suspense (Genre)
 
Dear Agent,

(INTRO) As requested during my pitch session at the Emerald City Romance Writers Conference, attached are the full manuscript and one page synopsis of my novel titled Danger in the Yucatan.

(HOOK) When a claustrophobic herpetologist descends into a Yucatan cenote, will he be able to prove a legendary albino crocodile’s existence?

(MINI-SYNOPSIS) Bronson Parker, a herpetologist, travels deep into the Yucatan jungle in search of a legendary albino crocodile, stumbles on a hospitable indigenous tribe, and is presented with the chief’s beautiful daughter, Ravina Cocum, who leads him to the cenote. Because of Bronson’s claustrophobia, he jerry-rigs a crocodile trap, but falls into the cenote, is joined in the pit by Ravina, who tends his wounds, and then they share a night of passion. Hungry, lost, and injured, Bronson and Ravina traverse the depths of the cenote. Bronson realizes that he no longer requires the crocodile to be satisfied and is content with what he has. Separating from Ravina in a final attempt to save them both, Bronson dives into an underground river where he emerges into an albino crocodile filled pool, but is rescued by Ravina. Abandoning the crocodiles, because he’s simply awed by the simple wonders of life, Bronson returns to the tribe with Ravina, but decides, to her welcoming surprise, to stay and study the local reptiles indefinitely.

(SHORT BIO) I’m the President of the Black Diamonds RWA Chapter in California, have studied humanities both in college and since graduation, and actively blog on the craft of writing.

(SALUTATION) Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to your response soon.

Sincerely,

Cyndi Faria

THAT’S IT!   You’ve just created the perfect Single-Page Query Letter.

 Happy Writing, Cyndi Faria

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5 thoughts on “Query Letter Made Easy

  1. Nice adivce Cyndi – if only I could get the condensing part down. I’ve got my 1-sentence hook, but the rest is still too much. Less is more and I’m cutting still, but then lose the flow of the story so it sounds disjointed.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the conference. I wanted to get to that one, but as my husband reminded me, “You can’t do everything.”

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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