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The Perfect Query Letter - Your Hook Better Kick

Writer's Edge recommends the following query model below.

Note this does not include a long story pitch or short synopsis (which will sink you if you don't know how to artfully write it), but rather a single hook line (which will also sink you for the same reason). Note that comparables (at least two) are vital to your novel.


Dear Mr. or Ms. (name of agent):

[The Hook] You may remember that we met at the XYZ conference [or] I recently completed a novel similar to The Art of Racing in the Rain, which I know your agency represents, and I thought you might want to take a look [or - a good one because it shows you doing your homework] I read in Publishers Marketplace that you represented XYZ to ABC, and thought you might be interested in taking a look at a novel I just completed.

( NOTE: the credential paragraph below can be moved to second to last paragraph, and if no creds then rely on the story hook )

[Professional credentials, platform, or personal background of the author that makes it clear why the author is the best person to tell this tale] I have been writing for the past twenty-seven years. My short stories have appeared in Playboy, GQ, and Martha Stewart Living... OR I am an avid dog-owner, and have owned the same dog for the past twelve years.

[Information about the novel] The Great American Novel, a novel of 92,000 words, tells of these experiences. [comparisons to other novels] It is similar to Love in the Time of Cholera and Lassie Goes Solo because... OR my novel might be best thought of as Lassie Goes Solo
meets Love in the Time of Cholera

[HOOK OR LOG LINE INSERTED HERE--MUST BE EXCELLENT. IF POSSIBLE, HAVE A PROFESSIONAL REVIEW IT BECAUSE THEY CAN BE DIFFICULT TO WRITE. READ ABOUT CONFLICT AND CORE WOUNDS IN THE PRIOR LINK AND ALSO SEE THE EXAMPLES IN THIS NEXT ONE BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT IT: SAMPLE LOG LINES.]

I am attaching/enclosing [note: only attach documents when the agent explicitly asks for attachments]: an outline; synopsis; sample chapter(s); press clippings about my other published works; endorsements by (1) bestselling authors, (2) celebrities, (3) experts, (4) other people who really would be useful for endorsements.

[submission information] This is on a multiple submission. If you are interested in reading the entire manuscript, however, I will be happy to give you exclusivity.

Best Wishes,

Merilee Author

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