We’ll be doing something new in May–a live query letter critique.
For those who don’t know, a query letter is what you send to an agent to let them know you want their representation. You usually only send it after your manuscript is completed and ready to be “sold.”
There are literally thousands of agents and each has his or her own likes and dislikes, quirks and requirements. (For a list of agents, try QueryTracker or Publishers Marketplace (you can search without registering.) Before sending a query, always be sure to check the agent’s/agency’s website for their current submission requirements.
One thing they all have in common, however, is that they require a query letter. (Some agencies have online forms you fill out. These usually ask for the same information you’d include in a query letter.)
For our meeting on May 3, VP Stephanie Lawton will be critiquing query letters for works of fiction. She has two degrees in professional writing and editing, she’s taught professional communication (including letter-writing) at the college level, and she’s had success with her own query letters.
Paid members are Everyone is invited to submit their letters to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, April 26. The first ten will be critiqued at the meeting, so only submit if you’re willing to take constructive criticism in front of a group! However, we’ll remove names from the letters. (You can reveal yourself as the writer if you wish.)
Before you send your letter, be sure to read up on the proper formatting and content of a query letter. Below are some helpful links to get you started:
Below is a query Stephanie used. It will give you the basic format and content:
Dear Ms. Mudiganti,
Because you enjoyed the blurb of Want on my blog, I hope you’ll be interested in my complete manuscript. After critiquing the first ten pages, author Saundra Mitchell said, “It’s got a strong voice, and a literary bent, and I think you have something special here.”
Julianne counts the days until she can pack her bags and leave her old-money, tradition-bound Southern town where appearance is everything and secrecy is a way of life. A piano virtuoso, she dreams of attending a prestigious music school in Boston. Failure is not an option, so she enlists the help of New England Conservatory graduate Isaac Laroche to help her.
She can’t understand why he suddenly gave up Boston’s music scene to return to the South. He doesn’t know her life depends on escaping it and the madness that threatens her success. Isaac must resist a taboo attraction, but an indiscretion at a Mardi Gras ball—the pinnacle event for Mobile’s elite—forces their present wants and needs to collide with sins of the past.
Want is a completed 77,500-word contemporary Young Adult novel that will appeal to readers who appreciate the psychology of Michelle Hodkin’s The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and the forbidden nature of R.A. Nelson’s Teach Me.
I have a BA and MA in English and have taught on the college level. I’ve also been a copy editor/paginator at several newspapers. I help run www.NovelNovice.com, the top education-based site dedicated to YA literature and serve as vice president and social media administrator of the Mobile Writers Guild. I’m also member of SCBWI.
Thanks very much for your consideration.
Questions? Leave them in the comments or email email@example.com.