Q – Query letters

April 19, 2013 by KWills

The latest edition of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook now calls these “enquiry letters”.  Well, nyah, I’m sticking with “query”.  It’s Q-day1!

In said W&A yearbook, they helpfully provide a template letter.  It boils down to this:

  • First paragraph: Novel title, length, genre, and one sentence summary. (Told you the Snowflake Method would come in handy.)  If appropriate, compare it to the work of an existing author.  
  • Second paragraph: A little about the author.  Mention any previously published work, and any professional or amateur experience that is relevant to your novel.  Keep this brief – and don’t use friends or family as references.
  • Third paragraph: Ask about the next step, submission guidelines and in-house preferences.  Sign off politely.  

I can manage paragraphs one and three, but the middle section is giving me trouble.  I am pitching my first novel here, so I don’t have any “previously published work” to show off.  My personal experiences have been many and varied, and I’m not sure how to sum them up in a few words, nor how to pick out the ones that relate to my novel.  I could mention my positive reviews from “Writing.com“, but I’m afraid that might be seen as only one step up from “My mum thinks I’m great!”

Well, that’s my dilemma.  At least I have two-thirds of the letter written.  Now I need to finish going through the “Agents” listings, and copy out contact details and get “Haplow House” ready to send out, when asked for.  May is fast approaching, and it’s time to get this show prepped for the road.

Exciting!  Also scary.  Excary!

1. No, not the day of pan-dimensional trickster super-beings.  That’s next month.


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