Pub Rants

#NLAquerytip #5

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Fact: A really terrific concept in your query won’t save you if the letter itself is poorly written.

Think of the query letter as a special training ground. A pitch for your novel is really hard to write. Trust me, we agents understand that, which is why most of us aren’t also writers. I’m not crazy enough to subject myself to that torture. LOL.

But you’ve chosen to be a writer so we expect you to perfect every aspect of your craft–and that most certainly includes the pitch in a query letter. It’s your first opportunity to show just how good a writer you are by nailing the pitch.

So if you don’t, agents will simply have the expectation that you are still a beginner and not quite ready for an agent to read your material. Hence, why we pass on 99% of the email query letters sent to us.


2 Responses

  1. Rick Nicholson said:

    Hi Kristen, I found your name on the “Query list” for literary agents while sending out requests for an agent. Your comments on #NLAquerytips #5 about writing a good query letter are probably the most straight up and honest feedback I’ve read as yet. I started writing in 2012, which in of itself tells you that I’m a beginner. At 60 years of age I found myself retired with a few stories to tell, so like many other retired folks I went the “self publishing” route (iuniverse) and published my 1st group of stories. My 1st book has had nothing but great reviews on (amazon.com ) from the people that have bought it. In the query letter I’ve been sending out along with the 1st 3 chapters of my new book, I guess I’m NOT hooking the agent enough to want to read my stuff? Could you please give me a little more insight to what your referring too in a good query letter. As I’m going crazy here rewriting it several times, only to keep getting rejection letters.
    Thank you in advance,
    Rick Nicholson
    PS; I’ll send you my latest query letter right now.

    1. Carolyn Hunt said:

      Don’t leave mistakes like these in your letters:
      “…your referring too…”

      And for heaven’s sake, don’t misspell the agent’s name.