Queries are a piece of work. You might hear that some people like writing queries, and some people completely despise them.
If I'm being honest, I really don't mind them at all. They help me get a grasp of the story I'm telling . . . that, and they make me weirdly giddy on the inside.
Okay, so what is a query?
"A query is a one-page letter used to get an editor or agent interested in the work you'd like to send them."
Essentially, it's your entire manuscript summed up in 300 words or less. It's actually this fact that makes writing a query so dang terrifying.
Every word counts, and if you're not able to summarize your book in a way that's appealing to a literary agent, you'll most-likely get the rejection letter.
And trust me, no one wants an inbox filled with rejections . . . it might drive you mad or stuck in some alternate universe filled with anger, hurt, and confusion (refer to the GIF with Jennifer Lawrence).
Every query has three to five paragraphs. This can be broken down to: the hook, the cook, and the book.
The Hook is usually one short sentence about your book that draws the reader in. This is very similar to a pitch. I've seen them written in formats like: "X meets Y" or, "When so-and-so discovers she's the heir of Atlantic, she must venture to the bottom of the ocean to save her family from eternal doom."
The Cook is a couple of sentences about the author. This doesn't necessarily have to go directly after The Hook - most commonly, I've seen it as the last paragraph. If you don't have many credentials, don't worry. It's always okay to keep it simple and short.
The Book paragraph will probably be your longest one, and as suggested, it's all about your book! In this paragraph, discuss your main characters and what happens up to the inciting incident. Then, discuss what choices they'll need to make now because of it. Be sure to keep it short and sweet, and don't give too much of the plot away. You want the reader to ask for more.
Somewhere in your query, you'll want to have a paragraph that mentions the title, genre, and word count of your book. This can be before The Hook or before The Cook paragraph. In this paragraph, you also have the opportunity to share any connection you may have with the agent - especially if you've worked with one of their clients for Pitch Wars.
And that's pretty much it.
Remember, queries come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and just because your query doesn't look like the next, doesn't mean it's wrong.
My ultimate tip for those working on queries is to become part of a community - writing in a vacuum isn't the best for anyone.
Feel free to check out my successful query here: https://www.britneyslewis.com/post/the-query-that-got-me-a-literary-agent
Still have more questions? Leave a comment below.
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Till next time blog world!