A good query letter is one that gets them to call you

Posted on 16/07/2011 by


A query letter is a tricky piece of writing. It has to excite the interest of the reader while being informative, condense the basic plot to a couple of sentences that still give a clear indication of what’s in the book, be funny and sound like your book while still being professional, tell them about yourself in a way that makes you sound competent and artistic without being nuts and ask for their enthusiasm about a book they haven’t read yet. And you have to do all that in about three paragraphs.*

And then you have to write a different one for the next agent.

Then again, maybe I could just write one query letter and it would be so brilliant and masterful that the person I send it to will leap in the air with glee and demand to be told what happens next.

Or, you know, reality could happen.


* Without letting the subtext come through too loudly. Because although the point of a query letter is always to get them interested enough to ask for more, and the best advert for the book is the text itself, it’s still probably a bit off-putting if the letter just screams: Read the book, dammit!