As an author, there is one more important piece you have to write apart from your literary work, and that is your query letter. The query letter is addressed to publishing companies or agents on the subject on representation.

Essentially, you are looking for a publisher that would carry and reproduce your literary piece. It is thus very much like a sales pitch. Of the piles of manuscripts that publishing houses have to go through, not one of their people want to read through 500+ pages of your work only to find out that it is not the type of novel that their company represents. Hence, your first ticket to becoming a published author is a concise and convincing query letter, like these tried and tested Sample Letters. It is thus a very crucial document that could determine your success in the industry.

Sample Query Letter Format

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Basic Business and Email Query Letter

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Printable Quintessential Query Letter

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Sample Query Letter to Download

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Standard Query Letter Clinic

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What a Query Letter Is

As a writer, your query letter should introduce your article, story, or novel to potential publishers. Remember, it is your marketing tool or sales pitch. How attractive your literary product is to them is all up to your query letter, and you are writing it as though you are asking for their representation of yourself as the author and of your work. No publishing house or literary agent still goes through an entire manuscript without a query letter. The query letter decides whether what you’re selling is worth their time and their consideration.

How to Format a Query Letter

As much as you want to make a lasting impression, steer clear from fancy fonts, colors, scented papers, and what have you. A query letter has to follow the business formatting guidelines, be addressed accordingly, and should therefore be in black text of a professional font family, sized 12, and preferably printed on a letter-sized bond paper. Use these Sample Query Letters to guide you with the format.

More importantly, a query letter has to be concise. At most, it should only have 300 words in it.

What to Write in a Query Letter

With that word count in mind, it is thus very important to make the most convincing and compelling query letter. It should contain the following elements:

  • the genre of your work,
  • its title,
  • the number of words,
  • your previous works, and
  • your recognition from major award-giving bodies, if any.

Many writers start their letters by identifying their referrals or relations to the addressed agent or publisher. If you have neither, a neat way to make an introduction is a story hook.

What a Story Hook Is

A story hook should incite interest in the plot of your piece, in the same way that the descriptions on the back of books captivate the interest of readers. This time, though, you have to do so with far lesser words. Your story hook should capture what your story is all about, by introducing the lead and his or her conflict, as well as the setting the story is in.

Query Letter Example

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Query Reply Letter in PDF

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A Query Letter vs. an Inquiry Letter

Whereas query letters are addressed to publishing houses and agents, inquiry letters are business documents sent to companies by job seekers. These are typically written when an applicant wants to learn about job vacancies in a company that would suit his or her skills and qualifications. To know more, see these Sample Inquiry letters.

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