Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Query Letters

Okay, I drafted and redrafted my query letter with the help of several friends.

I reviewed Noah Lukeman's How to Write a Great Query Letter. I reread Chuck Sambuchino's advice on the three paragraph rule, which by the way is similar to Lukeman's but in a different order.

I read Sambuchino's blog daily. He has a new feature - great query letters and why they are great.

And I've read Query Shark faithfully.

Guess what? They all disagree. Lukeman and Sambuchino favor the three paragraph approach: 1. why this agent, 2. description of the plot, and 3. a very brief but appropriate "why me" bio. The order may change, but the gist is the same.

Sambuchino ran an example of a great query letter for a graphic novelist. Let's see, a paragraph providing author viability on the topic, second paragraph with more bio, third paragraph with more author background, fourth introduces the graphic novel (at last!), fifth about the work and plot, sixth about the author's publishing credits, seventh about the illustrator, and last the request to send a synopsis, etc. Hum, eight paragraphs. But the agent liked it.

Why do I write this? Because I have two query letter formats: Lukeman/Sambuchino versus Janet Reid (a.k.a Query Shark) who frequently comments favorably on slightly less formulaic letters. Some agents will get one format; others a different format. I'm curious if either format will work. I will track who gets which letter.

Nothing like a little market research, huh?

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