One of the tough things authors have to do is to write a query letter for an agent or editor.
Your query letter, according to Jane Friedman, should contain five things (in no particular order):
- Personalization – the part of the letter where you customize for each individual agent or editor. Be sure you spell their name correctly!
- What You’re Selling – the genre and subgenre, title and word count
- The Hook – this is the meat of your query. One to two hundred words is enough for most fiction queries
- Bio – this is optional. If you don’t really have anything of note to report, just skip this part and go straight to the …
- Closing and Thank You – always thank the agent or editor for taking the time to look over your manuscript
Here are some “Red Flags” for your hook:
- Is it longer than 200 words? That’s too much wordage – cut it back.
- Does it reveal the ending of your book? Save that for your synopsis.
- Does it mention more than two or three characters? Just mention your protagonist, antagonist and maybe a sidekick or romantic interest.
- Does it go into the minor plot points? If it has nothing to do with the main plot line, skip it.