Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Query Quandary- A Resource Guide

Are you in a quandary about writing queries?

Well look no further. 

I've spent a lot of time learning the craft of writing picture books. Equally important is learning how to write a query. 

Brian Klems of Writer's Digest writes, "You should put just as much care and attention into crafting and polishing your query as you did into your manuscript."

The purpose of a query is to tempt an agent into wanting to read your manuscript. 

Finding an agent is like fishing. You want to use the right bait to get the agent to nibble and request to see more of your work. If they bite and like what they've read, you'll hook an agent into signing you up as their client.

My wonderful friends in my various Facebook writing groups have been generous in sharing online resources that have been valuable to them. I've collected the links and compiled a list to share with all of you. 

Query Resources:

How to Write a Query Letter- This is an introduction to writing a query letter found on It covers query letter basics and gives you a list of basic query letter tips. This is a good place to start if you haven't written a query before.

The 10 Dos and Don'ts of Writing a Query Letter- This article by Brian Klems basically sums it up. It makes a nice checklist for you so you can be sure you didn't leave any important points out or that you didn't write any unnecessary verbiage. 

The perfect query letter- Brian Klems analyzes a sample query and breaks it down by parts. He comments on what's important to include in the letter and what's not necessary.

Common Query Questions Answered- In this article, Chuck Sambuchino answers the ten most commonly asked questions about writing a query and covers topics such as writing series, self-published books, genre, rejections, manuscript length, follow-ups, writer's platforms and more. 

What to Write in the "Bio" Section of Your Query Letter- In general, a query should include 3 parts: 1- Introduction, 2- pitch, 3- biography. The biography part of a query generates the most questions by writers. Chuck Sambuchino answers the most commonly asked questions about writing a biography and discusses what should or shouldn't be included in the section.

Why you Should Only Query 6-8 Agents at a Time- Here Chuck Sambuchino explains why querying all agents on your list at one time is a bad idea. He discusses the benefits of submitting to a short list of agents to protect yourself. 

The Most Common Submission Errors- Seven agents come together to discuss the common errors they've seen writers make when querying them. They discuss their pet peeves and share with us what they want to see in a query. 

Query Letters That Worked- In Harold Underdown's website, The Purple Crayon, Margot Finke shares with us 3 query examples. 

Here's a great video by Emma Watson on How to Write a Query:

Feel free to share with me which of these links you found most helpful to you. Until then, happy querying! 


  1. Thanks for this great list of resources!

  2. Wonderful list, Romelle! Also, I find QueryTracker to be helpful in organizing all the submissions. Plus, users will add comments about the agents, their specialties and their response times.

    1. Ah, yes! I like Query Tracker. I thought about adding that in here and thought that it would be to include in another topic about organization.

  3. Great! I'm going to work through all these resources this weekend.

    1. Sounds like a busy weekend to me. Have fun, Lauri!



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