10 Ways To Personalize Your Query to Agents

Writers hear that they’re supposed to personalize their queries–but “how personal, exactly?” is the most common question. The best queries show that they have engaged with us before (on Twitter, read an interview, or a blog post of ours) and have done their research. It’s easier than you think to show that personal touch.

Below are TEN great query intro’s you can model yours after:

“You’ve mentioned on your blog an interest in XX and so BOOK TITLE HERE might be of special interest to you.”

“After reading (and loving) CLIENT BOOK TITLE HERE, I am submitting BOOK TITLE HERE for your review.”

“I noticed on Manuscript Wishlist you are looking for XX and XX so I’m submitting BOOK TITLE HERE.”

“I am seeking representation for my novel, BOOK TITLE HERE, a work of XX complete at XX-words. For readers of XX and CLIENT BOOK TITLE HERE.”

“I enjoyed your interview with XX and am eager to present to you my query for BOOK TITLE HERE.”

“As per your request on #MSWL, I am hoping you’ll be interested in my book, BOOK TITLE HERE, an …”

“I am excited to offer, for your consideration, BOOK TITLE HERE, one that is HOOK, like your #MSWL requests.”

“I am contacting you about my novel BOOK TITLE HERE because of your wishlist mention of XX and XX.”

“I noticed your tweet requesting XX and I thought my novel BOOK TITLE HERE could be just what you’re looking for.”

“I am seeking representation for my GENRE novel BOOK TITLE HERE complete at XX-words. It is similar in theme to CLIENT BOOK TITLE HERE.”

You don’t need to gush too much and you don’t need to flatter us. You just have to use your professional judgment to share why you think we’d be a fit. If you tell me that you’ve read my blog chances are I’m going to like that because it shows that you understand what I’m looking for. If you’ve read my clients’ books that shows we might have similar taste. If you cite my MSWL posts that shows some research. It’s really the little details that will set you apart from the pack.

Make sure to also include in this opening paragraph: word count, genre/category/audience and don’t forget your book title!



How to Write a Query Letter

Finished your novel? Need help formulating a query letter? Don’t know where to start?

If you haven’t seen this yet, from BubbleCow.net:

Dear [put the name of the agent here. Avoid using general terms such as sir/madam. Do your research and find the name of the agent that will love your book.]

[Elevator pitch — A couple of lines that capture the essence of the book. This is a concise and targeted summary of the book in just a couple of sentences. e.g. Using the Three Little Pigs story the first paragraph would be… With his brothers already devoured by a serial killer known only as The Big Bad Wolf, the third pig fights for his life with just a pile of bricks between him and certain death.]

My book is called [your book’s title in italics]. It is complete and consists of [word count e.g. 80,000 words]. My book fits firmly into [your book’s genre – pick one genre only]. Readers of my book would also read [list three books that are in the same genre as your book and would be read by readers of your book. This will show that you understand the genre and will reassure the agent that your book is in a genre that they represent].

[This is a very brief description of your book’s plot. The key is to keep it short. For the Three Little Pigs we get… Set in the fairy tale land of medieval Europe, this tale sees three pigs leaving home to make their way in the world. However, their coming-of-age is overshadowed by the presence of the serial killer known as The Big Bad Wolf. The first pig opts to build a house of straw, but it offers little protection from the Wolf. The second pig tries sticks, but with the same results and he ends up as the Wolf’s second victim. The third pig develops a plan that involves a brick house, a chimney and a pot of boiling water – but will it be enough?] Continue reading How to Write a Query Letter