Sunday, March 20, 2011


I've been dreading the process of writing a query letter almost since I first heard of it. Some of it is because I've never done one. I've tried to get prepared and been following Query Shark and BookEnds, LLC, who post real queries and break them apart to discuss what works and what doesn't (thanks, you guys). I've even joined, assuming that I will at one point know who to send the query letter to.

But my worry also goes back to my ms. It took me a year to come up with a title, because it has three distinct parts, and what title would fit the whole story? So how the heck am I going to write a query (in 250 words) for the dang thing?

So, I'm not there yet, not ready to write a query letter. Or so I thought until I read this post by Robin Weeks, and it got me thinking. Perhaps, as Robin suggests, the exercise of writing the query will help improve my final work. *sigh* Be sure to check her post because she makes some excellent points and because she includes a link to Elana Johnson's ebook called From the Query to the Call. I took a wonderful class from Elana at LTUE. She must be a nerdfighter because they are made up of sheer awesome.

Seems querying is on the mind of lots of folks. Ian Bontems posted about it today, too. He has some great suggestions as well.

Now that I finished Edit 8 and am ready to begin proofing (using a process Ian suggested, btw), perhaps I should consider writing a query.

For the experience.

You know. Just in case.


  1. Write your query now, and your synopsis. Both will require as much editing as your mss.

    Get both critiqued by someone who hasn't read the mss. They can play the role of agent. My critique partners have been invaluable in deconstructing queries.

  2. Well, you know how I feel. I definitely think you should write it before you do your next edit. Elana's ebook is AMAZING.

  3. Another source to check out is through Nathan Bransford's site. If you go to his blog, click 'Forums,' then scroll down to queries. Members post their queries for other members to critique (you don't have to be a member to read through them). I learn a lot just by reading the queries of the brave souls who post.

    Good luck!

  4. You're absolutely right - that Elana Johnson is chocful of awesomeness.

    Thanks for the mentions and I'm so glad you found something, anything that you could use on my blog!

    Good shout by Suzie F on the Bransforums - I critiqued a few queries and also posted mine there many moons ago and got some great feedback.

    Good luck, and keep us posted, Donna!

  5. Sorry, back again.

    Just remembered:

    That's a link from an old post by Nathan (back when he was still Mr. Agent-Man). It's a great mad lib formula for a query, and while it is pretty nuts and bolts, it's an excellent example of showing all the parts of your story you need.

    When I read it I thought it was a good foundation to start from, anyway. Hope it comes in handy.

  6. Queries are so daunting, especially when it comes to trying to come up with a tiny synopsis for a massive story. I've written query letters before, but I still struggle with writing the next one. (I have the start of my next query letter sitting on my desktop and I've been trying to write it in my head. It's hard. But I know you'll be able to do it--especially with all of the research you're doing--and I wish you the best on summarizing your book.

  7. Great information, guys. You make me think this might be possible.

  8. Hmmm-- Maybe Donna Hosie has a good point. I hadn't thought of that. I've got two novels that need some gaps filled before they are finished. Maybe having the queries and synopses on the sidelines would provide the needed impetus to finish.
    Glad you're doing the A to Z Challenge. The badge in the sidebar looks great!

    Tossing It Out


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