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Writer_
10-16-2014, 01:42 AM
I've researched a lot on query letters, studied successful ones and not so successful ones.

But on most agents websites all I see them asking for is a cover letter, synopsis, and sample material.

Jo Zebedee
10-16-2014, 01:46 AM
The cover letter contains your query normally:

Details of title-genre-wordcount

Dear Nice Agent (not everyone uses that but I felt impolite not doing so)

Short query style paragraph(s)

Short bio

Maryn
10-16-2014, 01:49 AM
Since there are hundreds of legitimate agents, it's not surprising they don't all seek exactly the same thing. There are still a great many--for many genres, a clear majority--who still want a query first.

Of course, the smart writer will do the research and send exactly what each agent prefers.

Maryn, who needs to go start dinner

Siri Kirpal
10-16-2014, 01:50 AM
Sat Nam!

Where are you? In the UK, it's a cover letter. In the US, it's a query. If someone in the US says "cover letter," use a query.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

rainsmom
10-16-2014, 01:51 AM
In this case cover letter = query.

waylander
10-16-2014, 02:00 AM
What they said; cover letter = query

Cathy C
10-16-2014, 02:32 AM
It also depends on whether you're talking about fiction or non-fiction. They're entirely different processes. What are you trying to get an agent for?

quicklime
10-16-2014, 03:10 AM
visit Query Letter Hell (a sub-forum in "Share your Work" here) for more info and examples...

Old Hack
10-16-2014, 10:39 AM
What you're talking about is standard UK submission guidelines. Cover letters are very similar to query letters.

lacygnette
10-16-2014, 06:49 PM
If you need to know the difference between UK and US queries, there's a thread in QLH: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285887

Writer_
10-18-2014, 05:02 PM
But some agents ask for: a synopsis and the first three chapters. No cover/query letter?

kkbe
10-18-2014, 06:44 PM
Mmmm, I'm guessing the query is pretty standard here in the U.S./ covering letter in the U.K.

My experience has been that a synopsis and pages are generally in addition to, not in place of, the query. And be sure to follow instructions relative to including the latter in the body of email, or as attachments. A lot of agencies will delete emails with attachments.

Siri Kirpal
10-18-2014, 09:18 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

The query letter goes without saying. Therefore always include it.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Laer Carroll
10-19-2014, 06:26 AM
The query letter goes without saying. Therefore always include it.Uh, no. I'd give the agent EXACTLY what s/he asks for, neither more nor less. I'd not assume s/he wants a query (or anything else) if s/he does not ask for it. They get a flood of stuff every day & I don't want to waste their time.

Sage
10-19-2014, 08:20 AM
I can't think of a single U.S. agent I've seen not ask for a query (plus whatever else) unless they had a form to fill out on the agency website. Where are you coming across all these query-less agents?

I think I would assume a query letter is implied, in the case that I saw an agent ask for a synopsis and 3 chapters.

cornflake
10-19-2014, 08:35 AM
Uh, no. I'd give the agent EXACTLY what s/he asks for, neither more nor less. I'd not assume s/he wants a query (or anything else) if s/he does not ask for it. They get a flood of stuff every day & I don't want to waste their time.

I don't see what the benefit of that approach is. Query letters, in the U.S., are ubiquitous. If done well, they're short, they're clear, they do a particular job.

An agent or agency requesting a synopsis and chapters, likely in addition, will get tons of queries + that. Opening a synopsis and reading it instead of a query likely isn't going to give the same experience of the material. Why risk someone thinking you don't know how to query just to show you followed exact instructions that likely took something for granted, when, if that was meant, they'll get a ton of queries with the stuff anyway?

If someone doesn't want queries, I'd think they'd be specific to that end.

Old Hack
10-19-2014, 11:30 AM
If a query letter is not mentioned, SEND ONE.

Only omit it if the agent specifies that you should.