Writing a Query Letter

Okay, wordsmiths. Let’s jump right into the next step on our publishing journey. If traditional publishing is the way you want to go, you’re going to need a winning query letter. Think of it as your literary pick-up line, the “Hello, gorgeous” to the publishing world.

What Is a Query Letter?

What Is a Query Letter

A query letter is your first impression, your foot in the door to a literary agent or publisher. It’s a one-page letter with a clear purpose: to intrigue the agent or publisher enough to ask to see part (or all) of your manuscript.

Dos and Don’ts of Crafting a Query Letter


  1. Do your research: Know the agent’s name and what they typically represent.
  2. Personalize: A personalized greeting shows you’ve done your homework.
  3. Be professional: This isn’t the time for LOLs and emojis. Keep it professional.
  4. Include the essentials: Genre, word count, title and a brief captivating summary of your book.


  1. Don’t be arrogant: Confidence is attractive; arrogance is a turn-off.
  2. Avoid long-winded summaries: Keep it brief and captivating.
  3. Don’t be desperate: This isn’t a cry for help. It’s a professional introduction to you and your work.

Tips for Writing a Good Query Letter

  1. Start with a hook: Grab their attention from the get-go.
  2. Keep it brief: Aim for about 250-350 words.
  3. End with a bio: Briefly share who you are and any writing credits.

Example of a Great Query Letter

Subject: Query: MYSTERY AT WILLOW CREEK (Middle-Grade Mystery, 50,000 words)

Dear [Agent’s Name],

When twelve-year-old detective-in-training, Emma Stone, discovers her hometown is the secret hub for ghostly apparitions, she must uncover the truth to save her town before it’s too late. MYSTERY AT WILLOW CREEK is a 50,000-word middle-grade mystery novel that fans of “The Mysterious Benedict Society” and “City of Ghosts” will love.

Emma’s detective skills are tested like never before as she navigates ghostly secrets, her parents’ disapproval, and her best friend’s skepticism.

My short stories have appeared in the “Children’s Mystery Digest” and “Mystery Times Journal.” I’m also a member of the Mystery Writers of America.

Thank you for considering my query. I look forward to the possibility of working with you.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

And that, my friends, is your guide to the art of the query. Remember, it’s not about selling yourself short; it’s about piquing interest in your incredible book. Now, go knock their socks off!