Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Chuck Sambuchino October 6, As I mentioned before, a good query letter is broken down into three parts — the quick intro, the pitch, and the bio.
How to Write a Query Letter Query letters? Do literary agents really read them? Agents take queries very seriously, and yes, they really do read them. Sure, agents make it sound like digging through the slush pile is the last priority of their day. Some agents even relegate the ambivalent task of reading unsolicited queries to an assistant or intern.
But the fact of the matter is that most agents do read queries. Even more importantly, agents actually respond to ones that spark their interest. Query Letter Basics A query letter is a single page cover letter, introducing you and your book. Nothing more, nothing less.
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And for the love of god, it is NOT more than one-page. Trust us on this. A query letter has three concise paragraphs: A query letter is meant to elicit an invitation to send sample chapters or even the whole manuscript to the agent. Stick to three paragraphs. The goal is to get the agent to read your book, not to blow you off because you screwed up the introduction.
A hook is a concise, one-sentence tagline for your book. The best way to understand how to write a hook is to read the loglines of the titles sold by agents in our free searchable AQ database.
Here are a few examples of hooks for well-known novels: House of Sand and Fog When Massoud Amir Behrani, a former colonel in the Iranian military, sinks his remaining funds into a house he buys at auction, he unwittingly puts himself and his family on a trajectory to disaster; the house once belonged to Kathy Nicolo, a self-destructive alcoholic, who engages in legal, then personal confrontation to get it back.
Bridges of Madison County When Robert Kincaid drives through the heat and dust of an Iowa summer and turns into Francesca Johnson's farm lane looking for directions, the world-class photographer and the Iowa farm wife are joined in an experience that will haunt them forever.
The Corrections When family patriarch, Alfred Lambert, enters his final decline, his wife and three adult children must face the failures, secrets, and long-buried hurts that haunt them as a family if they are to make the corrections that each desperately needs.
Write your basic hook, then try spicing things up as you get more and more into the groove of "hooking.
Be sure to check out these very simple, yet very non-"formulatic" fiction hooks: The Kite Runner An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present.
The Da Vinci Code A murder in the silent after-hour halls of the Louvre museum reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected by a clandestine society since the days of Christ. Everything Is Illuminated With only a yellowing photograph in hand, Jonathan Safran Foer—both author and meta fictional protagonist—sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis.
Here are some non-"formulatic" hooks for a few nonfiction books: Into Thin Air On assignment for Outside Magazine to report on the growing commercialization of the mountain, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas as a client of Rob Hall, the most respected high-altitude guide in the world, and barely made it back alive from the deadliest season in the history of Everest.
The Perfect Storm The true story of the meteorological conditions that created the "Storm of the Century" and the impact the Perfect Storm had on many of the people caught in its path; chiefly, among these are the six crew members of the swordfish boat the Andrea Gail, all of whom were lost miles from home beneath rolling seas.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius The memoir of Dave Eggers, who at the age of 22, became both an orphan and a "single mother" when his parents died within five months of one another of unrelated cancers, leaving Eggers the appointed unofficial guardian of his 8-year-old brother, Christopher.
Give era and location: Set in modern-day Jerusalem During the summer of in a rural Texas town Taking place in turn-of-the-century New York City Set up your main character: A chatty cozy mystery starring something college professor Bell Barrett Variations on the "when" formula: Following a botched circumcision While defending a drug-addicted prostitute accused of murder After years of abuse at the hands of her alcoholic mother and step-father We encourage you to read as many as possible, and learn what captures your attention in a single sentence.
Then try to emulate a similar hook for your query letter. This is where you get to distill your entire page novel into one paragraph.And our simple, effective tips will help you write a query letter for a memoir that will have literary agents wanting to know more about you and your unique life story.
6 Tips For Writing A Query Letter For A Memoir In Order To Get A Literary Agent.
Write a great first line. Writing a Query Letter to a Literary Agent - Please Publish Me [ ] NY Book Editors – How to write a darn good query letter – I especially like the bit at the end about the numerous submission of accomplished authors.
J.K. Rowlings got tons of rejection letters. As I mentioned before, a good query letter is broken down into three parts - the quick intro, the pitch, and the bio. Strangely enough, the third part is where I get the most questions. In fact, at this past weekend's Writer's Digest editors' intensive, there were a ton of questions about the bio paragraph - "Should I include this?" "How should I work that?".
Are you making one of these common mistakes when writing your memoir? Here are the 7 mistakes you want to avoid when retelling your life’s story.
So today I’m sharing the query I sent to literary agents with the hopes that it will help you create your own pitch letter. I’m no expert on this, and my query isn’t perfect. But it’s the result of a lot of research into how to write a good query, and several people who know what they’re talking about helped me mold it .
The Complete Guide to Query Letters: Nonfiction Books (Jane Friedman) For years, I’ve offered a lengthy guide on how to write a query letter for a novel.