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  • Curious about queries…

    Posted by ajthekid on 1 February 2020 at 05:24

    Hello Townhouse! 

    I am looking for some advice as I embark on the HARDEST QUEST OF MY LIFE. I am, of course, talking about my Query letter…

    I have been given good advice, terrible advice, contradictory direction and everything in the middle. So, it’s hard to sift through the muck :^( I have written countless, terrible queries… but I am having a hard time nailing down what I am doing wrong.

    I am interested in hearing YOUR journeys…how much did you struggle? When did you make your breakthrough? What does your winning query look like? etc. 

    Looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.

    Also, wondering your thoughts on starting a query with a question as a hook? (i.e. Who will replace the chosen one after they’re murdered?)

    I am working on a U.S. Query – just FYI. Looking forward to your stories!

    ajthekid replied 4 years ago 4 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • david_snyder1 Snyder

    1 February 2020 at 22:33

    See link below.

    This pretty much covers it all. You really need a GREAT premise, a great hook, and a great logline–the one sentence description of the story. When someone reads that one sentence they have to smile. You will know it when you see it.

    This Jane Friedman post is one of the best outlines of the process I have seen and it includes a sample query.

    To tell you the truth, most agents just want to see that it doesn’t stink. They will base no decisions on the query but just want to see the quality of the actual writing if it is fiction–but again, the premise and hook have to be great, and it all has to coming screaming out in Ch. 1. If you have a great Ch 1. you have a great query already. 

    If you are writing non-fiction, they want to know you have 10,000 people who will buy your book no matter how bad it is. Just being silly, but that’s pretty much it.

  • Holly Jericho

    4 February 2020 at 11:20

    Hi Ajthekid,

    Firstly, congratulations for finishing a manuscript you’re proud of, that’s no mean feat! 

    My advice is, I hope, quite simple. Write a short email, make it clear and straight forward – no gimmicks (you’d be surprised what people do to get attention) and focus on the book. Here is a rough idea:

    Dear X,

    I am currently seeking representation for my first novel, [title], a [genre] that runs to around xxx words. 

    The [title] focusses on [name of main character, very brief overview including killer hook!]. 

    [Very brief one or two line bio about who you are – include writing experience if you have some.]

    Your representation of [client name they represent] put you at the top of the list of agents with whom I would love to work. 

    Please find attached a synopsis and the first three chapters of the completed manuscript, I would be delighted to send more.

    Thank you in advance for your time.

    Yours sincerely,


    • ajthekid

      5 February 2020 at 20:35

      Thank you, Holly! I really appreciate your simplified breakdown! How long did it take for you to get your Query right?

      • Holly Jericho

        6 February 2020 at 08:28

        Hi! My pleasure.

        It was quite a while ago now so I can’t remember exactly but I know I faffed around with the email for a little while before just plucking up the nerve to send it! 

        Honestly though, the most important thing is the sample itself, so when you feel ready, just take the plunge and good luck! 

        • ajthekid

          8 February 2020 at 05:31

          Thanks so much! I feel more confident about my manuscript than I do about the Query… but since the dang letter is the foot in the door, I want to make sure it’s at least “industry standard” before I send it to my list… I wanna make sure the heart of the story and the hook are right too (since it can come off as a run of the mill type of story if any of that is off.)

          Thanks again!! and congrats on your success!

  • Laure Van Rensburg

    17 February 2020 at 11:42

    Hey AJ, 

    Not sure if you know of this site  but AbsoluteWrite has a section dedicated to US query letters where people can submit their letter and get multiple feedback. I thought is might be helpful

    • ajthekid

      17 February 2020 at 19:48

      Thanks so much!! I really appreciate it (especially since this is an old question by now ha ha)