Query That Book #amwriting

Martin Cavannagh of Reedsy has been a busy, busy boy, creating a post about writing the query letter. Writing a query letter is harder than writing a novel. I mean, day-yum. If I could have told my story in a paragraph, I would have written a flash fiction. It took me a novel’s worth of words to tell the story, yeah?

Sadly, this post doesn’t tell you how to condense 100,000 words (or however many) into 250 or so, but it’s still a great guide through that tiny little patch of paralyzing thorns that is the query letter.

It’s also a pitch for Reedsy’s query letter review, which can set you back $50-$150 smackers. I would suggest that, if you want to take advantage — if that’s the term I’m looking for — of this service, isolate the bits that won’t change and put them in a boilerplate file: the genre, word count, and title, the hook, the synopsis, your publishing credits or credentials. You may want to send out more than one query letter on the same novel, and you don’t want to mess yourself up by cutting-and-pasting something personalized for one agent or publisher into a letter to a different one. ~cough cough~

Martin’s article includes a downloadable query letter infographic. Thanks, Martin!

A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Write a query letter for your book or work-in-progress. OR write a query letter for your favorite book by somebody else, just for practice.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Query That Book #amwriting

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    November 14, 2017 at 1:00am

    Coincidentally, I am sorting through the early novels and the query letters I sent out for the first (the only complete one), a mystery. I have copies of query letters and the rejections that came back.

    This was the previous century, and I’m sorting what might be useful to take with me to the new place (if we ever get around to moving – I think we’re going backward). I don’t think I’ll put myself through that little exercise again. I am constitutionally incapable of choosing a single gatekeeper (which is what an agent is) to pronounce sentence on a submission. At least not any more. It was a good exercise, I think – but horribly depressing. At least they sent actual rejections, some even letters, some even with handwritten notes.

    But it took years – and all that time spent on queries and on waiting for them to come back with rejections was wasted time; I couldn’t focus on writing during the wait periods. Just me – but I’m happy that’s not the case for indie. Now, if I could just figure out how to SELL!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 14, 2017 at 8:09am

      “Now, if I could just figure out how to SELL!” — Ah, that’s the magic, isn’t it? Assertive marketing takes more time, energy, and chutzpah than I could ever summon on my best day. I AM able to hand-sell at events, if I have a buddy to prop me up when I’m ready to crawl under the table. Tell you what, though: bookmarks and/or business cards with a buy link on it can net you some sales. Just pass them out here and there, or leave them lying around in offices and waiting rooms. How to hit it big, though? Hard, hard work and/or luck. I’m hoping for luck, me.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 15, 2017 at 2:46pm

      Hehehe! It’s the literary equivalent of, “Pssst! Hey, mister! Wanna buy a postcard?”

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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