Three Parts of a Query Letter

When you query a magazine or agent about a story or article, you are giving them enough information to hook them. You want them to accept your manuscript and publish it. Here are the main things that should be in a query letter.

PARAGRAPH I: (Called the Logline, Tagline or Hook)

  1. Summarize the book in one line.Think hard about this one.
  • Who (main characters)
  • When it takes place (timeline, era)
  • Where (location)
  • What (what’s it about?)
  1. In one-two sentences –
  • Tell where the story takes place
  • Give the era or years
  • Tell about the genre
  • Tell something interesting about the main character

PARAGRAPH II:  Enlarge on the hook (300-or-so words)

  • Give the word length of the book
  • Give the names of the main characters
  • Give the title
  • Give the genre (if not in the first paragraph)

The second paragraph is much like the blurb you would write on the back cover to hook readers. May use a comparison to another novel or writer…. “It’s similar to____”, or “written in the style of _____”

PARAGRAPH III: Bio

The third paragraph is your bio. Give these important points:

  • Give credits/publications
  • Tell if you’ve won contests
  • List your publishers

Be careful NOT to say “This is my first attempt at writing,” or something “This is my first fiction novel.” Sure-tell sign you’re a beginner. Don’t refer to your website. Give a hyperlink after your name at the end instead. Give a thank you at the end.

Make sure your spelling is accurate and your grammar is perfect.

The query should be no more than one page in length, single-spaced with one-inch margins. No fancy stationary or specialized fonts. Make it a business letter. Send it off and hope for the best!

 

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