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?

Fiction

Non-Fiction

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.

  1. Title of the project
  2. Genre
  3. Word count
  4. Hook (fiction)/Unique Selling Feature (non-fiction)
  5. Where the book will sit on the shelf (list two or three comparable titles)
  6. 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

  1. “This will be the best book that you every read.”
  2. “Let me introduce you to the next New York Times Best Selling Book”
  3. “Please give me a call so that we can discuss the next steps.”

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