Q is for Query
Before I really understood the purpose of a query letter or how to write one, I hated query letters. Most authors hate them. But after I started to research them, write them, learn what works and what doesn’t, I fell in love with query letters. I know, crazy, isn’t it? But there’s something really remarkable — to me — about being able to entice someone to read a 80K word book in only 250 words.
Regardless of whether you like them or not, they are a necessary evil. You’ll have to write one to get a literary agent or editor interested in your work. If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need a good blurb. The principals behind a good book blurb and a good query are essentially the same.
Because I adore them, I want to help anyone out there struggling. For free, I will critique any query letter sent to me (kimgraff . com @ gmail.com) or you can use my contact form.
Here Are A Few Rules/Disclaimers:
- I will be publicly critiquing them on my blog. If you send me a query letter to critique for free, you are giving me permission to publish it on my blog. I am willing to change character names/titles/leave your name out if you would like. I would recommend you sending me a bio so I can tell you my thoughts on it, but I will remove that from the version going on my blog if you’d like.
- I am not a literary agent. I cannot assure you that your query letter will get a literary agent’s attention. I can, however, give you my opinion on what works and what does — and blog visitors will comment in order to help you to the best of their abilities as well.
- I cannot guarantee a speedy reply. I would like to critique one letter a week (at most). I will notify you that I received it and the potential date of the critique.
- For a private critique, please review my Critique Services. I have a Submission Package and Partial Package critique. Both packages include a query critique. However, if you would like simply a query critique, contact me and we can talk.
- Query Shark – This is a must! It’s the most helpful site I’ve ever come across for query letters.
- Writer’s Digest Successful Queries Series
- How to Put It Together In One Neat Tweet by Theresa @ Eddittorrent
- Why You Should Only Query 6-8 Agents at a Time by Chuck Sambuchino @ Writer Unboxed
- Avoid The Obvious In A Query @ Kidlit.com
- The Query Goblin
- Slush Pile Hell (This is pretty amusing and a great example of what not to dowhen querying)
- YA Author Elana Johnson has a book on how to write a query letter. You can find a link to it’s free download here.
- Anne R Allen’s blog post on Hooks, Longlines, & Pitches What-every
- How to Format E-Queries @ Literary Rambles
- SFWA’s tips on Query Letters
- On Using Comp Titles In Queries by Sarah Negro
I’m a designer, a freelance editor, a book blogger, and a writer. I currently work for Astraea Press. I’ve interned for P.S. Literary Agency and worked as a personal assistant for Best Selling author Gennifer Albin (Crewel). I offer critique services and create covers for authors. I am a member of the SCBWI, HWA, AWP, and HNS.