Facilitator: Barb Roose, Books & Such Literary Management | Literary Agent
If you’ve ever wondered why some queries grab an agent’s attention while others get a pass, Barb shares the insights, strategies, and a simple checklist that you need to prepare a query that will capture a literary agent’s interest.
This workshop will:
- Vision cast the “why” behind a successful query;
- Help you identify when to send your query;
- Clarify the winning format for a query.
1. Queries Are Literary Movie Trailers
2. How to Think About A Query
A. Invites NEXT STEP versus trying to SEAL THE DEAL.
B. SIZZLE verus STEAK.
C. INTENTIONAL versus WANDERING.
D. BULLETS before CANNONS.
3. When Should a Writer Send a Query?
4. Winning Query Format
Think of your literary agent like a Wild West Cowboy. We’re straight-shooters. So, you don’t need to be fancy. Keep your query to one page. Begin your query with what an agent needs to know. My advice: Follow the KISS Rule: Keep It Simple and Straight-forward. This section should be 3-5 sentences long.
- Title of the project
- Word count
- Hook (fiction)/Unique Selling Feature (non-fiction)
- Where the book will sit on the shelf (list two or three comparable titles)
- Did someone refer you to query me?
First Paragraph: Check the format of your first paragraph as well as the word count. Consider the hook of your project to make sure that it is concise and compelling.
Second Paragraph: Look at the explanation paragraph of your query and consider whether or not the plot summary or non-fiction overview will inspire the agent to ask to see more of your work.
Final Paragraph: Bio Info
- Your traditional or self-publishing experience
- Writing awards
- Speaking experience (non-fiction)
- Whether or not you are currently represented by another agency
- Professional background that is directly relevant to the book (non-fiction)
- Remarkable platform information – such as viral blog, social posts, video or speaking platform (you may want to put that at the top – for example: if you’ve been on national news outlets, put that on the top)
WHAT NOT TO SAY IN A QUERY LETTER
- “This will be the best book that you every read.”
- “Let me introduce you to the next New York Times Best Selling Book”
- “Please give me a call so that we can discuss the next steps.”