The Five Parts of an E-Query - Writer's Digest

The Five Parts of an E-Query

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Some Writers Deserve to Starve! by Elaura Niles

Before you type a single letter of the alphabet, let's discuss craft and what goes into the perfect e-query.

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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.

2. Introductions.
Address the agent in a professional manner. Show respect. Knowing their name—and spelling it correctly—show you are paying attention.

3. Story.
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.

4. Qualifications.
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.