1. Subject line.
No threats, no cliches. Use your book title, a clever phrase that relates to the body of your e-mail, or, if a third party is involved, drop a name.
Address the agent in a professional manner. Show respect. Knowing their name—and spelling it correctly—show you are paying attention.
Don’t be a windbag. This is tricky territory, so come armed with a killer logline. You get only one sentence to describe your book or screenplay. If you are interesting, and I mean damn interesting, you may be able to get away with a couple sentences.
This is no place to tell them that you are “the next John Grisham.” Your writing credits go here. Books, articles, poems published or e-published. Context wins and honorable mentions. Don’t have any? Go with your strong suit like professional connections or meeting them at a conference.
5. Graceful Exit.
This is the big finish. If you haven’t deleted your e-mail by now, you are in good shape. Thank them and sign off.