HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT QUERY LETTER
One of the easiest ways to learn what makes a good, standard query letter is simply to see an example of one that does its job well. If you write fiction or narrative nonfiction, a query letter is your first (and often, your only) chance to get an agent interested in reading (and, with hope, signing) your work. You should put just as much care and attention into crafting and polishing your query as you did into your manuscript. After all, if your pitch doesn’t hit its mark, your book will never leave your desktop.
The main objective of a query is simple: Make the agent care enough about your protagonist and your plot that she wants to read more.
Following is a successful query for a middle-grade novel that led to me first requesting this full manuscript and later signing on to represent the author, Dianna Dorisi Winget. Her debut book, A Smidgen of Sky, went on to sell to Harcourt and hits shelves this fall.
No matter what you’re writing—fantasy, thriller, sci-fi, romance—or whether you’re writing for children or adults, there’s a lot you can learn from this example about conveying characters clearly and getting an agent invested in your story in just one short page.
—by Mary Kole