THE QUERY LETTER—TIPS AND TRICKS
- You can set your submission apart with a few simple things right away; this kind of attention to detail ensures that your query is as professional and accessible to us as possible, giving your work its best opportunity to shine:
- A brief introduction letting us know how you found us and why you think we're a good fit for your work—the more personal, the better.
- A careful proofread before you submit, making sure you've spelled BJ's name correctly and that there are no glaring spelling or grammar errors.
- A quick check that you've followed our guidelines (no attachments; writing sample in the body of the email, etc.).
- To make your project description more persuasive, it can be helpful to open with a "hook," or elevator pitch—how would you sell this book if you only had the length of a tweet to do so? In the longer description, focus on what makes your book a great read—we don't need every plot detail, but we do need enough to get intrigued. Convince us!
- In addition to the plot or subject of your book, it's also helpful for us to know where you see it fitting in—what do you see it shelved next to in the bookstore? What category do you think it is? (If you're not sure, you can tell us that; just do your best.) Have there been successful examples of the type of book you've written that paved the way for it? This sort of information can take your query to the next level, showing us that you've done your research and are aware of the potential market for your book.
- Though we love to see an author who's confident in their work, it's not as helpful for us to see claims of a book's sure New York Times bestselling success, a definite movie deal, or that it's "the next Harry Potter"—these are the sorts of things we'd rather judge for ourselves.
- Watch this video for more of BJ's thoughts about writing a good query letter.
- We also love this example of a real-life successful query and the literary agent's analysis of what made it work.