Saturday, June 4, 2011

Trim a Query Letter

How to Trim Your Query to 250 Words (or Fewer): Advice from Agent Janet Reid

Section One:

1. Back story.
2. World building.
3. Character roll call.
4. Telling.
5. A synopsis.

Section Two:
1. Academia – classes, teachers, degrees, dissertations.
2. Conferences you’ve attended.
3. Self-published novels, or traditionally published novels with poor sales.
4. Personal information.

Section Three:
1. Begging, flattery.
2. Arrogance or self-deprecation.
3. Offer of an exclusive.
4. Your marketing plan.
5. Quotes from rejection letters, paid editors, critique groups, your mom.


Section One:

1. Title, genre, word count.
2. The essentials of your novel. (Every time you think you know, ask yourself “So what? And then?” until you’re left with your main character, conflict, and consequences.)

Section Two:
1. Published short stories or novels.
2. Published magazine or newspaper articles.

Section Three:
1. Why you chose this agent.
2. A connection you have from a conference/workshop.
Start from the bare bones and build from there. Infuse each section with your book’s personality. Consider every word. Don’t forget your contact information.

And close with

“Thank you for your time and consideration.” Now get trimming!

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