Q Is for Query

Query letters are something of a mystery to many writers; here at the Writers’ League of Texas, we field a lot of questions about how to write a good query letter. Wonder no more: Chuck Sambuchino’s “Guide to Literary Agents” blog is one of the best resources on the subject. Chuck (right) runs an ongoing series called “Successful Queries,” which features query letters that landed agents — along with comments by the agent about why the letter caught their attention.

The latest entry in the series (the 41st!)  is the query letter for Losing Faith, by Denise Jaden, with comments by agent Michelle Humphrey of  the Martha Kaplan Agency.

Here’s the link to the whole series. Browse through them and take the mystery out of querying!

Good Query Letters

Chuck Sambuchino, the editor of The Guide to Literary Agents,
offers tips on sites with samples of good query letters. Here’s an excerpt:

  • Query Shark. This site is devoted entirely to evaluating queries. they come in, and agent Janet Reid tears apart the bad ones and tells you why they’re bad. The good thing here is that you get a lot of examples. The bad thing here is that most of them are not up to snuff, according to the Shark; however, she does praise some of them.
  • BookEnds Literary is starting to post some of their successful query letters online. See the first one here. [Note: Oddly enough, this refers to our WLT friend Karen MacInerney's query letter!]

Chuck, who appeared at the 2008 WLT Agents & Editors Conference, is a great observer of the publishing industry, and his blog is worth bookmarking. Check it out.