How to write a query letter
In order to have a book published by a traditional publisher, you will likely need to know how to write a query letter to find a literary agent.
A query letter is part business letter, part creative writing exercise, part introduction, part death defying leap through a flaming hoop. (Don’t worry, you won’t catch fire and die during the query process though it may feel precisely like that at times).
In essence: it is a brief letter describing your book that will hopefully make an agent want to represent you.
Read on to learn about the steps I recommend for writing a successful query letter. For more in-depth information on querying, editing, and the publishing process, check out my series of online classes here.
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Here are the basic steps for how to write a query letter:
- Start with a completely finished and polished manuscript (fiction) or a book proposal and 30-50 sample pages (nonfiction)
- Read examples of query letters that worked
- Hone your pitch
- Research agents so you can personalize your query
- List your credentials (if you have them) and other key details
- Format your query letter properly
- Send it out and wait for a reply