Are you someone who is fascinated by the idea of writing a query letter? Do you wish to know some of the ways you could write an authentic and useful query letter?
If that is the case, then you have found yourself coming to the right article; here, we will help you guide on how you, as an individual, can write a query letter. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Begin with a greeting
There are many people out there who do not know what a query letter is, and to put it simply; it is an inquiry to an agent asking if they would be willing enough to represent a book.
You may not know this, but every year, the best agents and companies receive a tremendous amount of letters, but they only sign a few authors and make deals with them.
When writing a query letter, you must keep in mind that you should start the salutation simply. Many people love to go overboard and write a complex beginning to catch interest.
After a simple salutation, the next line should be where you write something to catch the agent, such as if you have written any previous writings/books.
If you haven’t published, then you can start with something personal so that the author feels a sense of connection. One of the query letter examples would be to say, “We met last year at the Annual conference and had a good talk,” etc.
Writing a hook
After you have done your part in writing a simple yet attractive beginning and salutation, the next part would be to write a strong hook for the book. If you are unaware, a hook is a group of sentences that aims to capture the reader’s interest.
Just like with a hook in a book, your query letter should also contain a hook phrase so that the agent knows that your book is entirely different from the thousands of books out there waiting to be read and signed by potential authors.
One great way you could write a hook that catches the eye and ears is to mention a central conflict that aims to change the remaining narrative. The good thing about doing this is that it will introduce a genre and tone and also set the internal dilemma. Although it might take a while to perfect a hook, with time and effort, you will easily be able to write a good hook.
Include story synopsis
The next step in writing a query letter is to include a story synopsis. You must keep in mind that it is during this part that you should have hooked your agent. If your hook phrase is compelling and is able to make the agent read more, you should further reel them in by writing a synopsis.
If you are someone who does not know what the purpose of a synopsis is, it is essentially a part of your query letter where you shed light on the characters, plot, central questions, and conflicts that drive your story.
Moreover, you should make sure that the synopsis is short and compact, not reaching more than 200 words. In this paragraph, you should include the main plot, conflicts, impression of characters, and their connection.
A great pro tip when writing a synopsis is to make it so that it is 50% of the entire letter. Investing a great deal of time in writing a story synopsis ensures that every reader, regardless of their opinions, personality, and much more, starts to gain interest in your book.
After you have successfully added the synopsis of the story, the next main goal of yours is to somehow include a word of the author, which is you. Instead of making yourself look new and unprofessional, a great way is to talk about your overall achievement and experiences in the past.
It is a good idea not to ramble about your past and your hard-working job but rather talk about how you have overcome your obstacles and previous hassles. You could try asking yourself questions such as;
- Have I ever written any short stories before?
- Have I won any previous writing competitions?
- What sort of writing workshops, meetings, and interviews have I attended?
By asking yourself such questions, you are able to understand more of your previous background working as a writer and moving into the world of a professional author.
That being said, if you are someone who is writing for the first time, then instead of lying it is much better that you write about the inspiration of your book.
That way the author will be able to see your utmost dedication and strength to successfully write a book.
Now that you have done the scary part of writing the entire query letter, another tip that you could benefit from is to make a bit of edit here and there throughout the letter to make it seem more authentic.
One thing worth mentioning is that professionals such as agents are easily able to tell when work is generic or when it is written with dedication and hope.
For this reason, a bit of personalization is important so that your letter does not seem entirely like spam awaiting to be thrown in the bin.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways you could personalize is by giving a personal touch, such as mentioning the agent’s existing clients.
Or if you do not want to write that, then another thing you could do is mention something that the agent has written or said in public that gained reputation.
Closing the letter
The ending part of the letter should be as simple and less complex as the beginning of the letter. A great tip is to try not to overdo the ending. Many people out there make the simple mistake of telling their author that they would love to meet with them and that they should arrange a meeting for future plans.
This should be your last option as this gives them an idea of your personality being opportunistic. To end, simply write a thank you and sign them off.
So that is all when it comes to writing a query letter. Hopefully, by now, you have been able to take away key steps in writing a successful and authentic query letter. Although it may take some time and effort, with proper dedication, you will easily be able to write a good letter.