The Agent Game

A viewpoint on publishing

Queries: The easy part

with 2 comments

The task of sending out a query that’s likely to garner a positive response can be divided into two parts: the easy part, which mainly has to do with form, and the not-so-easy part, which is about content. This post is about the former.

1) Make sure you have the correct current address for the agent you’re trying to query. Agents move, agencies relocate, and the information in the writing guide you have on your shelf becomes outdated. Take the time to check the agency’s webpage for their updated contact information.

2) While you’re on that webpage, make note of the agency’s policies regarding queries, such as whether they accept email queries and what should be included in any query that is sent to them. This can and will vary from agency to agency, and sometimes even from agent to agent within that agency.

3) Actually follow the guidelines.

4) Make sure you include a self-addressed stamped envelope (with the correct amount of postage) if querying via postal mail. If you’d like your materials returned, please both make note of it in your query letter and be certain that you’ve included enough postage (and a large enough SASE) to get it back to you. Often it will be cheaper for you to print out new copies than to get your materials sent back, but the choice is yours. Do not use mailers from UPS, FedEx or any shipping service other than the post office for your SASE.

5) Print your query on plain white paper in an easily readable font. Getting fancy with your stationary or your fonts might get you noticed, but it probably won’t be in the good way.

6) When starting your query, address the agent you’re querying as Ms./Mr. AgentLastName, unless you have a previous relationship with them that involves you addressing them by their first name. In other words, stick with the formalities unless you’ve got a good reason not to.

7) Get one or more people to proofread your query before you send it. There are plenty of mistakes that will slip past your spell checker unnoticed, and such mistakes will likely count against you. If you truly can’t find anyone else to proof your query for you, print out a copy of the final version, let it sit for a few days, and then check it yourself.

If anyone has any other suggestions to add, or any questions about any of these, please leave a comment.

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Written by incognito

17 July 2008 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Getting an agent

2 Responses

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  1. […] In my last post about queries, I talked about some easy guidelines that any writer can follow to help improve the chances of their query getting a positive response. […]

  2. […] a comment » In my last post about queries, I talked about some easy guidelines that any writer can follow to help improve the chances of […]


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