Sunday, April 25, 2010

Researching the Query Letter

Like many things in life, there are some things you can be very good at, but if no one knows about it, it won't make a difference. For example, if you're an amazing massage therapist who has no clients, you can't help people feel better.

The same applies to my novel. I (of course) believe it's a great novel that many people will enjoy. But if it doesn't get published, no one will get to read it; the world will be deprived of my entertaining and thought-provoking book.

Having researched query letters and what agents want to know, I've compiled a list of pertinent aspects, including: Show your "voice," tell what the story is about, highlight your credentials, discuss future goals, explain why you think they'd be right for your book, and more.

Great! I wholly agree with these elements and would love to include them all in my query letter... which will be either gobbled up, spat out, or completely ignored. Hopefully gobbled.

But alas. There is also the number one, overriding rule of query letters: They must be no longer than one page. One double spaced page. With one-inch margins.

Sigh. Since I don't think my daughter's suggestion of using "texting language" will work (here is my book 4 U 2 C), I guess I'll just keep at it.

Okay, so now I'm signing off of here and getting started on QueryLetter2,592.doc. Wish me luck!


  1. Just in case it helps...query letters do not need to be double spaced. Single spaced is fine. I just popped over here from the link on your profile at Backspace, and urge you to post your query there! They helped me get an agent by honing my query! (Mind you it was my 7th novel, but I don't mind that the world is deprived of my entertaining and thought-provoking first six. :) )

  2. Hi: Thanks for the advice... I think my overall thought process is that to "jam" all I want to say into a longer query (either more than 1 page or single spaced but blindingly full), carries the risk of it not getting read at all.

    I've been working on my "must be only one page" query letter for the Backspace Conference, and I'm glad you pointed that out about the spacing... the guidelines for the workshop do require the sample first two pages to be double-spaced, 1" margins, but it does not say that about the letter; only that it has to be 1 page.

    Thanks again!

  3. Glad I could help! And yeah, you'd be surprised at how much you can pack into a small, four/five-paragraph query. It's just that query writing for fiction--no matter how long you've been writing--is hard. I'll only say it one more time so you don't think I'm a pest, but most especially if you're doing the conference workshop, posting your query at the forum could really increase your chances and help you.


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