Tag Archives: Query Writing

Query Letters: Three Basic Things


 

A query letter is a business letter. Writing may be art but publishing is a business. As a writer you are the creator of a potentially sellable product. Being too weird or unprofessional in your query letter can lessen the chance that you will get your work noticed, published, on bookstore shelves, and into the hands of readers. It’s ok to have personality, be interesting and inventive and perhaps a bit funny. And it’s ok for your work to be weird. Just keep the weird out of  your query letter. And remember to check for typos, as that’s part of being professional.

The whole point of a query letter is to get someone to read your manuscript. That means you don’t need to describe every little thing that happens in the plot, or name all the characters, or give away the big secret, or say how it all works out in the end. Unless giving away the big secret will be the thing in your letter that gets someone to read your manuscript… It’s way more important to write an enticing query letter than to spell everything out.

A query letter shouldn’t run longer than one typed page (even though it’s usually an email). Figure on double spaced, 12 point font, 1″ margins. Think 3 or 4 shortish paragraphs. An introductory paragraph with a pitch or a logline, a short synopsis (preferably without spoilers), and a bio with only relevant information. Don’t overthink this but do polish it to a high shine.

There are many places where you can get more detailed information about how to write a query, including lots of past posts on this blog. There are books on writing queries, workshops and breakout sessions at writing conferences, and more places online than I have time to link to. Just try a Google search. And good luck!

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I Just Have to Meet You, Linda! Where Can I Find You? Conferences in 2012

If reading my blog isn’t enough, and you just have to meet me, face to face, you will have a number of occasions to do that this year! Here’s what I have set up so far for 2012:

I am participating in Query Roulette through the New York Chapter of The Women’s National Book Association on February 28th in New York City. It’s like speed dating with agents! Click here for more information.


I am teaching a two hour Query Writing workshop at Hofstra University in Long Island on March 10th. Click here for information and to register.

I will be at The Willamette Writer’s Conference in Portland, Oregon from August 3rd – 5th. Click here for more information. I’m not sure if I hope it will be like Portlandia or it won’t!

 

Come the autumn I will also be at the Southern California Writer’s Conference in Newport Beach, California from September 23rd – 25th. Click here for more information. So Cal in the Fall! I can’t wait!

Is there a regional conference in your area that you’d like me to attend or that is looking for literary agents? Let me know about it!

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