Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Constructing The Query Letter

OK, I promised a quick review of query letters according to John Pipkin, author of Woodsburner. This is what I brought away from his class a few weeks ago.

Like the synopsis, this is business and not a test of my creative writing. A ONE PAGE letter, business format, introducing myself and my book to an agent. Simple and to the point, Mr. Pipkin does not subscribe to the theory that I must scour the Internet for agent details, personalizing each query letter. (Yea! And he got 'discovered' and published.) His thought is that everyone involved knows why I'm sending an agent a query--just get to the meat in the first paragraph. (I love it!)

       1st Paragraph: the hook (that same summary sentence used in the synopsis, but reworked.)
                                          Be sure to state the title and genre. 
       2nd Paragraph: summarize the characters and plot.
       Optional Paragraph: historical background (optional according to the story), relevance 
                                                  (if not stated earlier), and the potential audience.

       3th Paragraph: the writer's bio. Tell why I am qualified to write on this subject, why I'm

        4th Paragrapha formal closing, thank you, and length of manuscript.

For more info on the hook, check out my post on 'Writing That Synopsis'.



  1. I've done tons of research on queries and this guy is on target. You're selling an idea, not trying to dazzle them with fluff. Good job