Query letter structure

Write an awesome hook sentence.

The hook sentence is the most important part of your query. It grabs the agent’s attention and keeps his/her/they reading. Usually, it mentions an interesting part of the plot as well. Hook sentences are difficult to make, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a long time to find the right one.

Write 2-3 paragraphs that expand on the plot.

The next few paragraphs explain the plot. Normally, this section is 2-3 paragraphs long. If you have small paragraphs, it’s alright to have a 4th paragraph. These paragraphs let the agent know:

  1. What’s the main conflict?
  2. What’s standing in the main character’s way?
  3. How does the main character feel about the situation?
  4. What are the consequences?

Write about your book (and your writing credentials).

This part has a simple format. “NOVEL’S TITLE is a (genre) novel complete at (number) words” or “NOVEL’S TITLE, a (genre) novel, is complete with (number) words” are the best ways to write it.

Some writers will also say what books their novel compares to. I go into more detail about it here.

After that, you can mention any writing experience you have in that same paragraph. Agents and publishers love to accept writers who already have a name for themselves. If you have no previous writing experience, skip to the closure.

Write your conclusion.

This is the simplest part of the whole query. “Thank you for your time and consideration.”

Some writers will also write something along the lines of: “As per requested on your website, I attached the first ten pages of my manuscript to this email.” There’s a couple of things wrong with a part of this.

  1. “As per requested on your website” should be taken out. Agents already know what they asked for. You don’t have to tell them.
  2. The word “attached” is usually incorrect. Most agents will ask you to not attach anything to the email. If they ask for the first ten pages, agents may request you to copy and paste it into that same email.

Query letters are not something you can write overnight. When sending a query letter, remember you are going against hundreds of writers. Make the best query you can before sending it off.

Hope this helps!

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