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Query Letter Sample for Literary Agents

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Query letter sample

Before I share the ideal structure for book queries with you, I need to make sure you understand something.

Publishing agents have to write query letters, too .

That’s how they sell books.

The only difference is that book agents first meet with publishers (or call them on the phone), to tell them what a book is about and get permission to send it. Then they mail, email, or messenger the book to the publisher.

With a cover letter.

So, although I’ve read more than 60,000 queries, and listened to thousands of pitches face-to-face at writers’ conferences, I’ve also written tons of queries.

Query letter sample written

And… the query letter sample structure below is what I used to get book deals with houses like: Simon & Schuster, St. Martin’s, Hyperion, Prentice-Hall, Workman, Andrews-McMeel, Entrepreneur, Barron’s, Amacom, and more… resulting in millions of books being sold, as well as works being picked up for TV, stage, and feature film (with companies like Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks).

This query letter sample structure works.

Scroll below to learn more about the query letter sample structure that you can use to get literary agencies fighting over the chance to represent you and your book.

Query Letter Sample – The Epiphany

The query letter sample structure I’m about to show you isn’t like anything you’ve seen before. In fact, you won’t find this query letter sample structure in any book or other online resource.

It’s cutting edge.

Most of the information published about queries (in books and online) is inadequate (it’s not completely wrong, but it only paints half the picture). In other words, if you follow that advice, your pitch letter will only be half as good as it could be.

And that means you’re twice as likely to get a rejection letter.

Query letter sample rejection

The reason there’s so much misinformation out there, is that most publishing professionals (for some strange reason that I still haven’t figured out yet), don’t think of the query letter as a miniature (or shorter) version of the book proposal .

But they should, because that’s really what it is.

Book proposals contain every bit of information that a book agent and/or publisher needs to understand what a project is about (and determine its value). That information is neatly divided into four critical categories. And those categories are the foundation of my ideal query letter sample structure.

So, let’s take a look at the four sections of the perfect query letter sample structure.

Recommended Query Letter Sample Structure

The main difference between this query letter sample outline (and the format you’ll see taught by others) is that most people suggest your letter only have three sections. But the ideal query letter sample structure is made up of four  sections. I say sections instead of “paragraphs” because sometimes one section might consist of more than one paragraph.

Query letter sample three

Section One –  Query Letter Sample

Introduce your book and the target market.

The first section in my query letter sample outline is for you to explain what your book is about. It should include your title and/or subtitle, name the genre or category of your book, and indicate the word count. If you have a high-concept hook or “logline” for your book, it should appear at the beginning of this section. This section is also where you should specify your target market and make any observations that you’ve made about the market.

Query letter sample hook

If your book has already been self-published, represented by another publishing agent, or reviewed by publishers, you should say that as well. This section of my query letter sample outline is also where you might want to explain the story and/or inspiration behind your book, and indicate whether your manuscript is a stand-alone book and/or part of a series.

Section Two –  Query Letter Sample

Compare and contrast your book with other titles.

This second section in my query letter sample outline is usually the hardest to write. That’s because most authors are a lot more knowledgeable about their own book than they are their competition. Then there’s the fact that most authors don’t want to acknowledge that the have competition, or that “similar” books have already been published.

Query letter sample compare

Even if you’ve written something completely unique, you still need to use other titles to give literary agencies and publishers some kind of context. This shows everyone reviewing your work that you’re a professional author, knowledgeable about your genre. This section of my query letter sample outline is also where you should differentiate your content and writing style from other books in the marketplace.

Section Three –  Query Letter Sample

What do publishers need to know about you, relevant to your book.

The third section of this query letter sample structure is designed to establish your credibility as an author, and your credibility (or potential) as a promoter. It’s basically your biography, but it should only include things that are relevant to your writing… things that will prove to literary agencies and publishers that you are the logical person to write a book like yours.

This section of the query letter sample outline is meant to include things like: previous publishing credits and/or awards; education and expertise; professional accomplishments; honors, awards, and prizes; associations, professional groups and/or other organizations that you’re part of; related volunteer, community, and business affiliations; hobbies; etc.

Query letter sample biography

If you’ve attended any writers’ groups or educational retreats/events, you should mention those too. Same thing if you’ve ever worked with a professional book coach, consultant, or editor. Finally, this is the section of my query letter sample outline where you should mention any public speaking, publicity, public relations, and/or media experience that you have.

Section Four –  Query Letter Sample

What are you going to do to help promote and sell your book.

The fourth section of my query letter sample outline is designed to communicate your ability, willingness, and plan to promote your work. Think of it this way, there are three types of content that end up in this section:

Statements about your willingness to promote your book

For example: “I’d be happy to do book signings and even create a website to promote my book.” That kind of statement is virtually useless because it’s just a promise that you might (or might not) follow through on.

Tentative plans to promote that you don’t have complete control over

For example: “I met [insert famous author name] at a writers’ conference last week and he said that he would give me a blurb for my book.” This type of statement is better than nothing, but it’s not nearly as good as the next kind of statement.

Query letter sample yes

Confirmed plans that you have 100% control over (or almost 100%)

For example: “I have 10,000 people on my email list, 25,000 visitors to my blog every month, and 42,000 people on social media. I’m going to conduct a detailed promotional campaign to all of these people starting the 6 weeks prior to my book’s publication and then continuing during first six months after publication.” Another example: “I have blurbs from the following authors…”

Here’s one more: “Although I don’t have a large mailing list yet, one of my friends does and it’s the same target market. We have a written agreement and she’s going to send out a 6-part email campaign over 30 days to her list of 65,000 people to promote my book.” These types of statements are solid, no-fluff, no BS, concrete plans that are most likely to excite literary agents and publishers.

Conclusion – Query Letter Sample

Now, don’t freak out if you feel overwhelmed by all the information and options that I just shared, for my query letter sample structure. It’s extremely rare that an author is able to write a pitch letter that’s equally strong in all four sections of my query letter sample outline.

Don’t be discouraged.

Query letter sample discouraged

To prove my point, I’m now going to show you a query letter sample by one of my former clients that resulted in a multi-book deal with a major publisher (and more).

She didn’t do everything perfectly in her pitch letter. But, what she did do, she did extremely well. And it’s probably the part that you’re going to struggle with the most. So make sure you study her example (below), and my comments.

Click here now to read the next article in this 17-part series and see my favorite  Literary Agent Query Letter Example .

Look at my favorite literary agent query letter example

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"Berkley Books recently published my book in hardcover after Mark helped me get multiple agents interested in my work. I was able to speak with literary agents from top agencies such as Janklow & Nesbit, Trident Media, Anderson Lit, and Folio. I signed with Don Fehr at Trident Media and a short time later I had a publishing contract! Having Mark on your side is incredibly valuable." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Interviews/Tips from Successful Authors

Fiction/General – J. Jago Fiction/Mystery – B. Harper Fiction/Mainstream – K. Cox Fiction/Christian – K. Sargent Nonfiction/Business – D. Hamme Nonfiction/Self-Help – A. Goddard Nonfiction/Environment – J. Biemer Nonfiction/Diversity – S. Peer Narrative Nonfiction – D. Cohen Memoir/Women – L. Lehr Memoir/Christian – S. LeRette Memoir/Family/Identity – S. Foti Memoir/Multicultural – N. Aronheim Memoir/Inspirational – L. Subramani Memoir/Mainstream – E. Armstrong Children’s/Pic Book – M. Leshem-Pelly Children’s/Chapter Book – J. Agee Children’s/YA – C. Plum-Ucci Children’s/YA – D. Bester Children’s/YA – L. Moe

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sample covering letter to literary agent

2 Sample Query Letters To Literary Agents For Children's Books

2 Sample Query Letters To Literary Agents For Children's Books

Sample query letters to literary agents for children's books.

Sample Query Letters To Literary Agents For Children's Books . Some editors want a just the facts, ma'am approach. One that caught my eye was an example from the daedalus incident.

Sample Query Letters To Literary Agents For Children S

One that caught my eye was an example from the daedalus incident. Many authors hate the task of writing a query, but. The query letter sample structure i’m about to show you isn’t like anything you’ve seen before.

I Have Enclosed An Sase For Your Reply.

Sample query letters to literary agents for children s books. Dear [name of agent], i am sending you my query for the weight of our sky, a young adult novel complete at about 60,000 words and set against the backdrop of an actual black mark in malaysian history. One that caught my eye was an example from the daedalus incident.

Query Letter Examples From Successful Authors How To Write A How To Write A Query Letter Publisher Or Agent For Your Book Query Letter Format Kidlit Query Letter.

There are over 60 query letter examples to literary agents you can read on writer’s digest. The picture book query should be short and compelling. You have one page and 300 words (or less) to woo a literary agent into falling in love with your story and then requesting your manuscript.

And If You Need Personalized Help:

For more querying best practices, refer to this post. Learn more about how to find the right literary agent for you in this post. Write a query letter in 3 easy steps:

Sample Nonfiction Query Letters To Literary Agents;

(if you need a visual, an example template for a query letter is included in the book version of my crash course.) begin with your address (no name). How to get a picture book literary agent. Thank you for your time and consideration.

What Is A Query Letter To Literary Agent;

By the time school ends on tuesday, melati ahmad’s mother has died 17 times. Personalize your query or book proposal; Scroll below to learn more about the query letter sample structure that you can use to get literary agencies fighting over the chance to represent you and your book.

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How to write literary query letters

sample covering letter to literary agent

If youre not sure you want or need a literary agent, read more about: Author Query Letters 101. What s in a query letter to a literary agent. The Complete Nobodys Guide to Query Letters. You never know, so write the letter like its the one thing standing between you and success. Tags: writing, Intermediate, Lynn Flewelling, Flewelling, query letters. I gave up my literary ambitions and made a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about Rommels advance across North Africa. So youve sent your query letter off to your favorite literary agent, but a response has been slow in coming. Query letter sample provided Its extremely rare that an author is able to write a pitch letter thats see my favorite Literary Agent Query Letter. Home How to Write a Literary Agent Query How to Write A Query for Book Agents Query Letter Sample Query Letter Sample How to Write an Agent Query. Screenplay query letters are generally structured as a pitch, description paragraph, proposal and closing. Ideal Length of Query Letter to Literary Agent. Query Letter, Query Letters, Learn How To Write a Great Query Letter and Get I'm blowing the lid off the Literary Agent industry with my secret insider. How to write a query letter for blends a literary The Complete Guide to Query Letters that Get Manuscript Requests from Jane Friedman: The query is so. 23 Literary Agent Query Letters That Worked. No matter what kind of novel you have written, they can help you craft a better query letter. Today Im answering some Ive received on the topic of Query Letters. How to Write a Query Letter: Query letters? or a short story in a few literary magazines, or won any writing awards or contests. A Query letter serves one function and one function only. But that function is so vital to a writer's career that crafting the perfect query letter can take hours of. How To Write A Killer Book Blurb For Your Query Letter: What Literary Agents Want To See. How to write a darn good query letter Do follow the tried and trusted formula. Your query letter is not the time to get cute. Theres a very specific standard for. Query Letter for Literary Agents The second type of person giving authors advice about the best way to write a literary agent query letter is harder to ignore. How To: Address a literary agent in a query letter. How To: Write lowercase letters in Italic hand calligraphy. Read a sample literary agent query letter Hard to say, since I dont know the precise set up. But just write a covering letter (query letter). How to Write a Query Beware of Scammers When Agents Offer AGENTS: Agent. This excellent blog is dedicated to sharing the latest and greatest instruction and information on literary agents, literary agencies, query letters, submissions, publishing, author platform, book marketing, and more. About Quressa: Quressa Robinson joined the D4EO Literary Agency in 2016 and is actively. A literary agent shares a reallife novel pitch that How to Write the Perfect Query Letter. By: Freelance Writing: How to Track Magazine Query Letters. Getting ready to send your manuscript to literary agents? Heres how to write a query letter a literary agent with What do you look for in a query letter. Literary Agents Inquiry Letters. Publi le 12: 03 par riskport3 Tags: literary agent query letter how to find a literary agent. Jan 09, 2013Anatomy Of A Query Letter: some literary agents accept only query letters and request sample pages How To Write Query Letter Writer's Relief. How to Write a Book Query Letter for a Literary Agent. How To: Write lowercase letters in Italic hand calligraphy. It features actual query letter examples to literary agents This series is called Successful Queries and Im posting actual writing twists that

sample covering letter to literary agent

Phoebe Morgan

Author and Editor

sample covering letter to literary agent

My submission letter to my agent

I thought it might be helpful to share the original submission letter which I sent to my lovely agent, Camilla at Darley Anderson.

Now, please bear in mind I wrote this letter a couple of years ago, when I was young and fairly naive – but it did get me an agent, so I thought still worth sharing in case anyone out there finds it useful (although if I’m honest, it makes me cringe a bit now!)

After this letter, Camilla emailed me within 48 hours and asked to read the whole manuscript – we then did some intensive editing together, and she then made an offer of representation (at which I was delighted, of course).

I attached the letter to an email, along with a synopsis of my book (which gave away the ending – you need the full, summarised plot) and the first three chapters. I emailed Camilla directly, after seeing her manuscript wishlist on a website, having looked for agents who enjoyed the genre I thought I was writing. I don’t know why I call it literary in the letter, as it’s not really, its commercial, and the plot has changed a bit since I submitted it first – but this is the completely unedited letter that led to agent representation. This novel changed name to become The Doll House , but The Architect’s Daughters was it’s original name. It outlines a bit about me, a very basic plot including themes of the novel, and is (I hope…) polite and professional.

Dear Ms Wray,

I would like to submit to you a sample of my novel, ‘The Architect’s Daughters.’ This is a piece of literary fiction which tells the tale of how a mother’s loving lie kills her own daughter.

Thirteen years ago, the death of the famous London architect Richard Hawes left his two daughters reeling with grief. Now, as Ashley and Corinne Hawes navigate the pitfalls of adult life, they find that everything they held true about their parents and what it means to be honest is to be turned upside down. Battling with their own demons of infertility, errant teenagers and an odd dislike for their own mother, the sisters are fighting for the truth within a family that has never understood the term. The underlying themes of this novel are honesty, sisterhood and the illusion of reputation.

I am now working as an editorial assistant at Octopus Books, Hachette UK. Writing is the only thing that I find makes sense to me; I am prepared to work very hard (probably for my entire life!) in order to pursue a career in this field, and would be delighted to have the opportunity to work with you if you like my book. There is nothing quite like the fantastic feeling that comes with reading a really great story, and if even one person could enjoy my own it would be an honour. I am in the process of writing another novel (partly to stop myself frantically checking my emails for agent responses!) and have plans to continue writing for as long as possible.

I worked as a news reporter previous to my publishing role, and have had many news articles published in print and online. However, there is only so much one can write about potholes and 101-year-olds; I find writing fiction to be a little more satisfying! I have also completed a creative writing course at the University of Illinois which is where I really began writing seriously.

Thank you so much for your time, and I do hope to hear from you.

It’s not a perfect letter, by any means. But, it is properly spell-checked, and it does give a flavour of what the book is about. I tried to put a little bit of my personality into it too, which I think is always a plus, but it doesn’t ramble on for too long and it’s quite to the point. I had spent a lot of time on the first three chapters I sent to her, proofreading them multiple times, making sure that the beginning really did give a good insight into the book, and closing the third chapter at a point which I hoped would make an agent want to read on.

Every agent will be looking for different things at different times, but I think as a whole, the submission process can be a very daunting one for a new writer so any light I can shed on it from the author angle will hopefully be a tiny bit useful! I would advise keeping your covering letter relatively short – 3/4 short paragraphs maximum, as agents get a lot of submissions and no-one wants to read an essay. Make sure you outline your commitment to writing, explain your day job if you have one, and give a clear idea, very early on, of what your book is about. Agents sometimes use information from your covering letter to pitch you to editors, so be honest, don’t exaggerate anything too much, and above all, keep it professional – you’re essentially asking to go into business with your agent and sign a formal contract, so they need to know that you’re taking this whole writing thing seriously.

Writing cover letters and synopses can be really hard, because you don’t have pages and pages to play with and you need to be succinct, so give it a few goes, make sure you edit your letter as much as you can before sending, and don’t be disheartened if you don’t get an immediate response. I waited months to hear from some agents – Camilla was very quick but that isn’t always the case, so always keep positive and keep writing while you submit – it will help, I promise.

If you enjoyed reading this article, my debut novel is only 99p here if you wanted to check it out and make me a happy writer 🙂 Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Published by phoebemorganauthor

I am an author and editorial director, currently working on the HarperFiction crime and thriller team. My psychological thrillers,The Doll House, The Girl Next Door and The Babysitter are out now with HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins. My fourth, The Wild Girls, will publish in April 2021. My books have sold over 150,000 copies and been translated into nine languages. They are also on sale in the US and Canada. View all posts by phoebemorganauthor

3 thoughts on “ My submission letter to my agent ”

V. interesting! It’s funny to see how much the book changed in between this letter and coming out, too.

What’s up, every time i used to check website posts here early in the dawn, since i love to learn more and more.

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  1. Query Letter Sample

    Query letter sample provided by a former NY Times bestselling literary agent reveals why most authors don't' get literary agency representation

  2. 2 Sample Query Letters To Literary Agents For Children's Books

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  3. My submission letter to my agent

    I thought it might be helpful to share the original submission letter which I sent to my lovely agent, Camilla at Darley Anderson. Now, please bear in mind I wrote this letter a couple of years ago