View Full Version : Query letter question

07-23-2014, 07:14 PM
I am looking to query an agency but I am also worried that I don't fully understand what they mean when they say "Please send us a query letter of no more than two pages, which includes your credentials, an explanation of what makes your book unique and special, and a synopsis."

I may be over thinking it as usual but I just don't want to look silly by sending in too much or too little.

Sadly I don't have any writing credentials, so I won't have anything to put there.

The explanation of what makes my book unique. Would I put that above the mini synopsis? I have a small paragraph explaining how the world as well as the unique creatures and races are mostly from my dreams or imagination.

Lastly when they add Synopsis to their list of what they want, do they mean writing a full page synopsis of the storyline alongside the query's mini synopsis?

Aggy B.
07-23-2014, 07:51 PM
So, when I was querying my novel I had a synopsis that consisted of three (longish) sentences, one that was 3 paragraphs/about half a page, one that was 1 1/2 pages, one that was around 5 pages, and one that was about 8 pages. Because different agents asked for different things. (1-2 pages and 5 pages being the standard. The 8 page one was for anyone who said "detailed synopsis" and didn't also request that it be short.)

I would think the specification of including the synopsis means they want to know how the book starts, what (main) conflict happens in the middle, and how it ends. Many queries go for the whole "Will the Protagonist succeed?" approach and don't show the ending, which can be useful as a hook, but some agents want to know where the story's headed.

As far as what makes your book unique, that could be as simple as "This is Moby Dick told from the perspective of the white whale." It doesn't have to be (and probably shouldn't be) "You've never seen anything like this." because chances are, they have. You could think of it more like "These are the strengths of my book."

As far as what should go where, I would try writing it several different ways to see what works best. (I used a letter that started with the three paragraph synopsis, then listed genre, word count, publishing history, and so on, but lots of folks start with genre and word count, then put in the summary/hook, then any publishing history. Each story is a little different and needs to be pitched to suit it's strengths.)

Many folks find the Query Letter Hell useful for figuring out things that work, then posting their own letter for critique. (You need to have 50 posts though, first.)

Best of luck!

Siri Kirpal
07-23-2014, 09:55 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

In that case, I do one of two things, depending on how the agent's guidelines are worded:

1. I use the full short synopsis as the main query, followed by the a few words about the book, followed by my bio.

2. I use the shortest logline-y version of the query, follow with a few words about the book, then the bio, then I say that the synopsis is below my signature.

Hope that helps.


Siri Kirpal

07-24-2014, 06:42 PM
Okay, that all makes sense now. I will have to revise it and see what I come up with. Thank you both very much for your help.

I had looked at some of the posts in query letter hell, pretty amazing how much people help out with all the mistakes that are easily missed. I will have to put mine there eventually.

Thanks again you two! ^-^

07-24-2014, 06:48 PM
If these guidelines are for a novel, it would mean I'd look for a different agent.

07-24-2014, 10:34 PM
Remember, you don't need 50 posts to critique in QLH -- and you'll learn a lot more by critiquing than by posting your own query. We might be a little grouchy over there, now and again, but we always welcome new opinions. :)

07-24-2014, 10:39 PM
If these guidelines are for a novel, it would mean I'd look for a different agent.Please explain what you consider unreasonable about this agency's request or what parts of it raise red flags for you and why.

Maryn, sunburned

07-26-2014, 01:02 AM
Oh I didn't realize I could critique in QLH without the post quota. I am not the best writer but I could take a look, maybe somehow I could help too. Thanks Atalanta :)