The Biggest Query Letter Mistake

pencilsAre you making this critical query mistake? The biggest query mistake: writers submitting a synopsis instead of a pitch.

A synopsis is the play-by-play of your novel. A pitch is a to-the-point email or letter that focuses on the hook, the conflict, and why it matters for the protagonist–and why an agent should read your book!


Some of you reading might think, “So what? If an agent wants to represent me, won’t they want the synopsis?” The answer is no, not in the query letter.

A query letter is not a synopsis. A query letter’s job is to get an agent to want to read more. A synopsis is to share when the agent is already interested, perhaps already requested your chapters, and needs to know the plot outline.

If you pitch us a synopsis and not a query:

1. It ends up being too long. A query should only be three paragraphs long. A query with a synopsis pasted in goes on and on. Agents stop reading.

2. We are missing things like the stakes and the motivation. A synopsis is a play by play, when what we REALLY want is to know why this book is different than all the others out there. Sell us on it. Continue reading The Biggest Query Letter Mistake

Sample Material: do’s and don’t’s

When asked to send sample material follow these guidelines:

– Most obviously, send your manuscript in the file format that is asked of you. Often times authors send in material in pdf or rtf when we specifically ask for doc or it is password protected. This is a simple task that allows the agent to smoothly open the file and convert to their e-reader without a hassle.

If you don’t have sample material to send: honestly respond to the email with your situation. However, please do not query if you have not finished your manuscript.

If your first three chapters (fiction) are in combination less than 30 pages: please send your first 50 pages instead. 12 pages are not enough sample material to assess the quality of your work. Take initiative.

Continue reading Sample Material: do’s and don’t’s