How to Write a Query Letter

I think that I have read a thousand articles with this same title. I have also borrowed books on the topic and am currently registered to take an online course about the same thing. Query Writing is offered at every conference and seminar for writers. All of these facts should tell us something. It. Is. Important. Please read that last word with an underscore, italics and bold font. (I won’t put them in so that no one feels I’m yelling at them).

After finishing a 300 page manuscript, I too, feel as if a 1 page letter, with only a paragraph to describe my book, is impossible. The task is daunting. It can be easy to spend very little time on the query and hope that when the agent reads the opening pages, it will catch him or her. The scary thing is, if the agent doesn’t like the query, there is no reason for them to read even the first 3 pages. It doesn’t even matter that they are right below it in your email.

If we call ourselves writers and our goal is to be published, then we need to think about our craft as more of a business. OK, how many people just navigated away from my blog? It true anyway. Whether you read it here or not. Books are on paper because someone is making money. It is a business. So, the gatekeepers out there (agents) are reading as much as they can, as quickly as they can, in the hopes of signing the next book to make some income.

Once the agents signs you and your book, they still have to try to sell it, just like you did. They sell it to a publisher. Please don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Be salable. Be marketable. Don’t limit your mind to only seeing writing as an art, not if you want to get it to a publisher. Do your best on the book, then write a query that gets agents reading. You can’t sell it if no one reads it.

I know that I said there are tons of ways to learn about writing a query, but I just finished a free downloadable book by Noah Lukeman that is worth the time. It was very good, and it will save you from reading 1000 separate articles. He says it all, and he says it well, right here:

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