I am knee deep in the search for an agent. I’m not ruling out self-publishing, but I would like to be traditionally published. I can admit that.
I don’t consider myself an expert on query letters, there are plenty of sources out there that can give you directions on that (here’s a great one by Jane Friedman ). In the end, I think you have to write one that is true to you and your novel. All query letters have certain parts. Query letters for works of fiction.
Those are the basics. I’m a firm believer in keeping it short, but thorough, and no gimmicks. I imagine agents have inboxes overflowing with emails and don’t have time to read long winded queries. I’ve written and rewritten my pith. The pitch isn’t as hard as the bio. A short bio!? I’d rather read a romance than write my bio.
Some query how-to articles give the advice of finding out who the agent represents and how they are similar to what you write. I hate this. It’s not always easy finding out who an agent represents. Recently, I read that having an idea of where your book sits on the shelf is useful. Wicked Cozy Authors has a series of articles on writing a book/series proposals that have been very helpful.
So I did a google search to see what books have similar characteristics of Dead in the Water. I googled, cozy mysteries in small towns. My brain crashed. Most cozy mysteries occur in small towns.
I googled, cozy mysteries surrounding diners. I choked, dozens and dozens (if not hundreds) of titles occur in or around an eatery of some kind.
Lastly, I googled, southern cozy mysteries. That was manageable. I made a list of authors and headed to the library, specifically looking for southern cozy mysteries. I have a nice little stack on my side table. I’ve never read any of these writers, and I hope to find a new favorite.
I don’t know how much any of this will help my query letter, but the current version looks pretty good.
What have you learned from writing a query letter?