Those who have been following my blog know I am currently researching suitable literary agents to send query letters. It has been time-consuming and though submissions outlines are similar, there is a varying degree of differences. Who just wants a letter, some a letter and a synopsis, others want letter, synopsis and the first 3 chapters and even that varies. Some agencies want 5 pages, 10 pages and so on. Then there are agencies who want a biography, where does your book fit on the market. And it goes on. Oh, and whether they accept email submissions or prefer snail mail. Plus those who only accept queries from referrals!
There is a lot to keep in mind and address when querying agents. I understand why they have such strict guidelines and I daresay it thins out those who are serious about writing from the ones who are can’t go the distance. Addressing each criteria takes time and if you want to be published, then guess what sweetheart… just do it!
I will admit to jumping the gun. My first letter wasn’t great. It didn’t have the necessary ingredients to grab the attention of anyone! Over the past few years and a number of workshops later, the letter is so very different. Its sharper, and I hope has the right selling quality to at least get an agent to request sample chapters of my book.
Literary agents who have a site often have tips on writing query letters but for me attending workshops worked. You can ask questions and make it specific to your needs, after all you want to be published, you need an agent! There are 3 key ingredients in writing a good query letter:
Paragraph one: introduce yourself and book
Paragraph two: a brief overview of your book, what makes your book different from those in the same genre, anything major happen to the main character/s.
Paragraph three: your writing experiences (if any), credentials, professional memberships and any pertinent information that helped you write your book.
This is not new information, most writers’ handbooks and websites generally have the same details, it’s what you write that counts. And your book of course.