How to Structure a Winning Query Letter

Query letters are difficult. Part of the struggle is switching from the long form writing of a novel to the short form writing of a letter. Elaine Ash, author, editor, and book coach, breaks down the mechanics of query letters that get responses from literary agents. Begin your letter, she says, with the title, the genre, and the word count of your story. The rest of the first paragraph is built around those three things. Then comes the synopsis. This is a simple teaser that intrigues an agent to the point of wanting to know more. Then give a bit of personal information and describe why you’re unique as an author and share the story's credentials. (For example, list any awards the story has won.) This should be one page long. This process is more challenging than it seems. Ash did a hundred drafts of her first query letter, though she doesn't suggest that all authors need to do that. She recommends doing your research to write the best query letter possible. “Good queries get responses,” she says. Learn more from Elaine Ash in the clip below!  

Share this story
Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn