Re: Re: Is my Query worthy? Does it say, I want to read more?

Home Forums Critique Central Query Letter Clinic Is my Query worthy? Does it say, I want to read more? Re: Re: Is my Query worthy? Does it say, I want to read more?


Mikala Engel

There’s no need toa ddress the agent telling her why you’re querying her. If she doesn;t know the query letter is a writer asking her to represent something, she ain’t the agent you want. Addressing the agent in any way at all just wastes space. When we say that the first line must hook an agent, we mean the very first line. Never, ever mor ethan the first two that work in conjunction.

I’d also say never use the words “My novel” until the last paragraph.

The biggest single mistake I see is probably telling instead of showing. A query letter should use the same active, exciting language that the novel itself uses. It should be fun to read.

Two tips that I’ve seen work over and over again. 1. A good first sentence or two in a query letter would also make a good first sentence or two for the novel itself. The best example of this I’ve seen in years is a link Jeanne pointed us to. I don;t know whether the software here will censor this, but the first two lines of that query were “She had a plan. She had a g*ddamn plan.”

That’s brilliant. It works perfectly as the opening for a query letter or a novel, and it’s guaranteed to make any agent or editor keep reading.

Your query letter can’t be ABOUT a story, it must BE a story, and written in the same exciting way any good story is written.

2. How would your query work as jacket copy? I’m not talking about blurbs, but about the synopsis on every published novel that tells you what the novel is about. Jacket copy is brief, active, exciting, full of action. Compare your query letter to jacket copy. If it falls short, you need to rework it.