So what’s a query letter, you ask?
The short answer: It’s a sales pitch an aspiring writer makes when they are seeking representation with a literary agent.
The long answer: It’s the dreaded “one-pager” that each writer must write if they want to see their book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble or any other book store for that matter. The writer must squeeze a 400+ page manuscript into roughly 500 words, throw-in some “catchy” lines to grab the literary agent’s attention, and finish it off with a short bio. This one-pager is all a writer has to impress a literary agent, and without it, the writer has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting their manuscript looked at by one of the Big-5 publishing companies.
That being said, writing the Query Letter is a lot harder than you may think.
“But you wrote the book. You should know everything about what makes it so great. It should be an easy task,” you might say.
True, but that’s also the thing that makes it so hard. The writer may be so invested in their work that they find it’s extremely difficult keeping their excitement contained in only one-page…“difficult” but not impossible.
The first Query Letter I drafted came-in at over 800 words—much more than one page. I sent it off to my brother for him to “review,” and as usually, he came back with some helpful suggestions/edits. After several more drafts, I still found I wasn’t comfortable sending it out. I wanted/needed to give myself an edge, so I signed up for a three-week Query Letter writing course on LitReactor. At the end of the class, I felt I had a polished Query letter, one worthy to be read by the dozens of literary agents I planned on sending it to.
Now all I had to do was hit the enter button and send it out…