How to Write a Query Letter

Knowing how to write a query letter is crucial if you’re serious about excelling in your writing career. Principally, a query letter serves the purpose of appealing to a literary agent, to convince them why they should take a look at your work.

But what goes into writing a query letter, and how can you get started?

First, it’s best to work on your query letter once your book is complete, especially if you’re a novice in the business of publishing. The art of how to write a query letter is, essentially, to sell your book. Therefore, there should be no room for doubt when writing your query. In addition, literary agents have busy lives, and publishing can be an overwhelming process, so you want to be as ready as possible for what lies ahead.

Further, your query letter should include a brief but enticing premise of your book. Think about what will convince readers to pick up your book when assessing the book jacket and make it a part of your letter. Of course, you don’t want to give everything away, so keep it short and sweet. You want to catch the agent’s attention and hold their interest long after they finish reading your letter.

Additionally, include essential information regarding your book. The title, word count, and genre are necessary to show agents what they will be choosing to work with.

In a query letter, you aren’t only selling your work, but your skill as a writer, as well. So, you’ll want to mention any achievements that reflect your talents, such as awards and credentials. If you’ve been lucky to have your work published before, either traditionally or independently, it’s wise to include this information as well.

Next, anyone who’s ever written a CV will tell you that personalizing according to the employer is key. Much is the same with a query letter. Referring to the agency you’re writing to or the agent’s work can get you noticed quickly and shows you’ve done your research. Personalizing your query not only demonstrates your interest in the agency but makes your submission stand out from others.

Once you’ve covered the points mentioned above, proofread what you’ve written to ensure it’s ready to be viewed by the agent. Just like with your work, your query letter should be perfect as it can make the difference between getting published or not. 

Finally, remember to thank the agent for their time and sign off. And so begins the wait for the agency’s response.

Now that you know the importance of an effective query letter, you can begin brainstorming ideas for how you’ll impress the agency of your choice. At Langtons International, we’re constantly receiving query letters and helping authors realize their dreams of being published. We are always happy to consider your query and represent you and your work.