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When Sending a Query: What to Include and What Not to Include

I’ve received a ridiculous number of queries since November, when I first started taking them. It’s only been two and a half months and, put it this way, I’m almost up to 4 digits. Some more seasoned agents may not think that is such a big deal, but for me it’s like going from 0 to 100mph in about 30 seconds. Coupled with the fact that I’ve been reading queries and submissions for other agents for the past 3 years, I think I’ve learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t in a query letter. So here are two lists for you, to help you know what to do and what not to do when querying me (or anyone else):

Five things you should always include in your query letter…

  1. Your name and the name of your manuscript
  2. The word count of your manuscript and that it’s complete
  3. A very short description of the story, including its genre
  4. Your previous writing credits and/or if you have a relevant platform
  5. An appropriate salutation and sign-off, including a way you can be reached

Five things you should never include in your query letter:

  1. That you have an idea for a novel but you just wanted to run it by me to see what I think, before you spend all that time writing the whole damn thing
  2. That you’ve written a fictional novel
  3. That your fiction manuscript is almost complete and you’ll send it to me when you’re done
  4.  To whom it may concern
  5. Whether you are currently on or off your psychotropic medication

Happy writing! Can’t wait to receive your query at:

linda (dot) p (dot) epstein (at) gmail (dot) com

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