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Query  Letter  Resources  

Courtesy  of  Greenleaf  Book  Group  
 
Whether  approaching  an  agent  or  a  publisher,  you  will  need  to  draft  a  query  letter.  The  query  letter  
is  a  one-­‐page  cover  letter  that  introduces  you  and  your  book.  Query  letters  usually  follow  this  
format:  
 
First  Paragraph:  Hook  (includes  the  name  of  the  book,  the  genre,  word  count,  and  the  
tagline  for  the  book)  
Second  Paragraph:  A  one-­‐paragraph  synopsis  (think  of  the  book  cover  copy)  
Third  Paragraph:  Publishing  Credits  (avoid  any  irrelevant  bio  information)  
Formal  closing  
 
Some  agents  like  to  know  why  you  selected  them.  Only  include  this  if  you  have  a  very  personal  or  
compelling  reason.  Also,  the  main  focus  of  your  query  letter  is  the  book  itself,  not  you  the  writer.  
This  does  not  mean  the  publisher  or  agent  is  not  interested  in  you  the  writer,  or  in  your  platform-­‐
building  activities  (which  are  extremely  important).  But  the  reality  is  that  publishers  buy  books,  not  
writers,  and  they  must  be  interested  in  the  book  first.  Once  they  are  interested  in  the  book,  then  you  
have  to  sell  them  on  why  you  are  the  best  person  to  write  it.        
 
Some  agents  request  a  full  synopsis  with  your  query.  This  can  be  formatted  in  one  of  two  ways:  
 
Character-­driven  Story  
Opening  hook  (This  can  be  cut  and  pasted  from  your  query)  
Summary  of  story  (intro  of  main  character,  backstory)  
1st  character  description  
2nd  character  description  
3rd  character  description  
Conclusion—resolution  and  consequences/relevance  
 
Plot-­driven  Story  
Opening  hook  
Summary  of  story  (description  of  main  character  and  secondary  characters)  
Plot:  initial  conflict  (who  or  what  sets  the  story  in  motion)  
Plot:  1st  twist  
Plot:  2nd  twist  
Conclusion:  resolution  and  consequence/relevance  
 
Nonfiction  will  include  a  proposal  and  outline  (see  separate  white  paper).    
 
Web  Resources         Books  
www.agentquery.com       Formatting  &  Submitting  Your  Manuscript  by  Jack  &  
www.writersdigest.com       Glenda  Neff,  Don  Prues,  and  the  editors  of  Writer’s  
queryshark.blogspot.com       Market  
openquery.blogspot.com   The  Writer’s  Digest  Guide  to  Query  Letters  by  Wendy  
Burt  
Making  the  Perfect  Pitch  by  Katharine  Sands