By Cicely Rue
What should a Query Letter Include?
“The goal of a query letter is, simply, to get an agent to want to read more.” (Lukeman, 2014)
This is your chance to convince the publisher or agent to read your manuscript! Your goal is to sound professional and to show them why they should invest in you. Your query letter will include your synopsis and biography. It should be error-free and have a natural flow. If the query does not display your best writing, then publishers will automatically assume that your manuscript will show the same quality of work. To get started, I will show you a basic outline:
“The Three Paragraph Rule” (Lukeman)
a. Your introduction should be clever, catchy, and no more than two sentences. You could include a small detail about the publisher or agent. Just remember—your goal is to keep them reading!
a. This is just a 3- to 4-sentence description of your manuscript.
i. Do not exceed one paragraph or mention subplots. Do not name names! Instead use terms such as “the protagonist,” “the antagonist,” “the main character,” and “the narrator.”
ii. Be specific, and be sure to include time period and location. Also, comparing your book to others may knock out unnecessary details.
a. Do not list minor credits or include irrelevant information. Also, never get too personal. When discussing book-publishing credits, put them in all caps. If you have credits with a magazine or newspaper, put them in italics.
b. Remember to include publications you have contributed to, your track record, subsidiary rights sales, strong industry connections, awards, grants, and fellowships. It is also wise to include writing-related education or prestigious residencies. If you have potential endorsements from other authors or first-hand experience in the subject you are writing about, be sure to include that as well.
Things to Always Remember about the Query Letter
· Contact information should never be included in the body of a letter.
· Never use colored ink.
· Do not use bold, underlined, or huge fonts.
· Your font should always be simple, such as Times New Roman or Garamond. The size should be standard 12-point. The margins should be one inch on all sides with all paragraphs indented.
· The letter should be single-spaced with no line breaks between paragraphs.
· Your own book title should be put in all caps. The title of other books should be in italics.
Example of Query Letter
P.O. Box 6025
Columbus, GA 31917
Dear Skyy Banks,
I enjoyed your latest novel. Soul on Fire is an excellent read that promotes emotional wellness in women by encouraging them to love themselves and think carefully about the dangers of having low self-esteem.
EVERYTHING ISN’T EVERYTHING can be compared to Kayla’s Perrin, Baby Mama’s Drama. EVERYTHING ISN’T EVERYTHING follows the protagonist, a single mother in Dallas, TX, over the course of a year. She struggles with choosing between her unfaithful ex-fiancé and an old lover.
I was born in Dallas, TX, and I am a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University. My degree is in University Studies. University Studies allows a student to have complete control over their class. They can mix and match courses that are key to a successful career. I am a contributor for From a Wildflower. I currently intern with Zoom Magazine in the area of Marketing. I hope to hear from you soon.
5555 Candy Land Rd.
Dallas, TX 75243
Lukeman, N. (2014). How to Write a Query Letter: Inside Tips and Techniques for Success. Amazon Digital Service, Inc.