How to Write Captivating Query Letters

Imagine your name on the cover of a bestseller. It can happen. But an author has to make it past the editor’s eye first.

Just as publishers have different needs, they also have different submission guidelines. Some ask that you send your complete manuscript while others require a query letter first.

Queries are designed to peak an editor’s interest. Think of it as your sales pitch.

But don’t just slap a stamp on an envelope and stuff your query letter in the mailbox. There are certain requirements you should follow to create an irresistible offer.

Your query is a complete selling package in one, single-spaced page. Don’t use “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”

Take the time to send your letter to the proper person. It could mean the difference between your query getting read…or getting tossed.

If you don’t have a yearly guide of publishers and their editors, you can call the publishing house directly. Just ask for the contact person’s name. Don’t interrupt a busy editor’s day by asking to speak with them. That certainly won’t win you any popularity contests.

Your letter should get to the point right from the start. Let editors know the title of your book up front. Don’t bury your lead several paragraphs in.

You can write your book’s title within a short first paragraph. Or really make your title stand out by centering it like a headline. A subtitle gives a further explanation.