The Query Letter

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.

  • greeting
  • hook
  • pitch/synopsis
  • bio
  • closing

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?



One thought on “The Query Letter

  1. Thanks for tagging our Wicked Cozy Authors series! One thing I learned was keeping track of who you queried and when is critical. I found Query Tracker really helpful for that, as well as for searching for agents who represented the kind of book I was writing. Get the premiere membership (a few years ago it was only $25/year) and you can run reports on similar authors and who represent them.


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