A-Querying We Will Go

Thanks so much to everyone who helped alleviate my writing fears. I guess you can’t get help until you’re ready to admit you have a problem. I did that and the support showed up in droves! I really appreciate it. Bolstered and invigorated, I’m ready to tackle my next project which is writing a query letter for my novel.

My friend TL Conway  pointed me toward an excellent (free!) resource, Elena Johnson’s FROM THE QUERY TO THE CALL. She writes that your query should do three things:

1. Tell about your project (novel, short story, article, etc.)
2. Tell about you
3. Capture your audience enough to request more

That’s the simplest explanation I’ve seen so far and it makes sense. Sometimes as artists we have a hard time tooting our own horns and that’s exactly what queries are meant to do. If you’re cursed with Midwest Modesty like me it can be even more paralyzing. But those days are over. Thanks to my artist development program and a philosophical rap to the noggin from The Roommate (“You’re a writer. Just own it.”), I’m no longer afraid to lay claim to things I want. And that can’t possibly happen if I’m too afraid to  do anything about it.

I know a lot of people dread this but I’m looking forward to it.

Any tips or tricks to crafting a killer query? Please share!

11 thoughts on “A-Querying We Will Go”

  1. I think it’s funny that we writers forget that what works with our writing can work with queries too! I think the most effective ones are written in an active voice, just like you do in the Manuscript. And Novel Girl has it right – give them the “voice” of the book or the character. It’s not bragging to state the facts of your experience, so just do that. Wishing you the best, Melissa


    1. Thanks for the good wishes. I have no idea why writers forget that. Maybe because now we’re not inventing a world but talking about the real one that we inhabit. For some reason that’s terrifying!


  2. You should mirror the *feel* of the manuscript in your query. E.G. Don’t write a funny query letter if there’s no trace of humour in the MS. Keep it shorter rather than longer (one page they say?). And only say stuff about yourself that is directly related, and of high achievement, to writing.



      1. Ohnoyoudidnt!
        Seeing as my story isn’t done, I’m a long way off from query time, but it’s on the horizon. It’s a goal for me for this year. We’ll see…


  3. I’ve had a query critique from Elana. She’s great. One thing she told me that really helped, and I’m convinced it was what started getting me requests, was to write the query from the main character’s POV and then go back and change it to third person POV. It really gets the voice of your manuscript into the query. It’s an awesome technique.


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