The Beast that is Your Query


I’ve talked before about query resources. Frankly, I couldn’t have developed a query without them.Here is a link that sums up some valuable information for your query letter. It’s a animal all its own and if your pet is like mine it evolves into something a little more civilized with each batch of queries I send out.

What I learned from Query Shark.

Or if you want to go straight to the source you can visit Query Shark yourself at

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites:

Immediately get into the story. Don’t start with an introductory paragraph; don’t put the title and word count in the first paragraph. Put this information in the last paragraph. Agents seem to be split about this, but according to Ms. Reid, “A quick drop into cold water is EXACTLY how you want to start a novel (and thus a query.)” She says the very first word in the query should be the main character’s name. Describe what he/she wants and what is preventing him/her from getting it.

– Don’t start with a log line––aka, a one-sentence summary of the entire plot.

– Don’t start your query with a quote or random fact. (i.e. “Did you know that a thousand elephants turn purple every year?” … Obviously this is just an example, and not actually true.)

– Don’t start with a rhetorical question. (i.e. “Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be a purple elephant?”)

– Don’t start with clichés. (i.e. “In a world …”)


6 thoughts on “The Beast that is Your Query

  1. ALSO… not necessarily a query resource but, while at Barnes and Noble last night, I found the coolest books in the Philosophy section about writing to the trends in society. One was called Vampires and Zombies and Philosophy and the other was called The Hunger Games and Philosophy. There is something so intriguing about cultural desires towards certain story lines and the way they continue resurfacing due to the ECONOMIC state at the time! Cool read!

  2. I think we can write for decades and still not have queries figured out. Thanks for your advice. And thanks for liking my blog. Both are very encouraging.

    • So very true. I bought the Writer’s Market and followed the guide to a T for writing queries then I read agent blogs that talk about how they want their queries to look completely different. It really comes down to doing your research and getting to know the agents you’re querying.

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