What’s Holding You Back On Your Query Letter And How To Fix It

What’s Holding You Back On Your Query Letter And How To Fix It

What’s Holding You Back On Your Query Letter And How To Fix It


Your query letter is an important document that you send to a literary agent to get representation for you novel. 

When I was a young author, I didn’t understand the business side of publishing and wanted nothing to do with the marketing piece. Many authors feel the same way; they feel overwhelmed with the marketing side of publishing.

One of the things that I often hear is: “I’m not a marketer, I’m a writer. I want someone else to do the marketing for me.” 

Here’s the truth. When authors bring that attitude into their publishing lives and into their pitch, they fail. It’s understandable that these writers want their book to stand on their own merit and get published because of that.

But this isn’t the reality. 

The reality is you have 10-15 seconds to impress a literary agent. They will not read your whole submission package. Many agents I know read submissions as they get out of a taxi cab. Imagine the quantity of that attention span on your submission. Additionally, you don’t know which portion they’re going to read. What this means is every single word needs to count. 

You need to be able to pitch well. Go big or go home. 

Imagine what it would be like to get a full page of critique from an agent that not only talks about your query letter but gives you an entire marketing plan for your future publishing career.

That is definitely better than getting a one sentence response of “I’m sorry, but this isn’t the right fit for us.” 

I remember thinking how difficult it was to present myself out there with my book. That is why I take time with writers to perfect their query letters, trying to get that marketing piece into their submission. 

It is important for you to remember if you are a writer, you must wear two hats: one writer hat and one marketer hat. And there are two different times for each hat. 

There is no shortcut for your success, but if you want to know how to fast track yourself into publication, I’d be happy to speak to you. 

Top 3 Tips for Starting your Query Letter off with a Bang

Top 3 Tips for Starting your Query Letter off with a Bang

Top 3 Tips for Starting your Query Letter off with a Bang

Lots of people come to me in the final stages of their writing with question about query letters. Oh, the elusive query letter!  It sure can be tricky!

This is a topic I’ve studied extensively, and I had the good fortune of landing in agent in my first round of sending out query letters. Here are my  

top 3 tips for starting your query letter off with a bang.


1. Introduce your piece first, not yourself.

Sad to say, but the agent doesn’t care about you, until he cares about your piece. Start with a hook that will draw the agent into the problem that is the main thrust of your piece, the truth behind it all. Give a synopsis of your piece.

2. Be specific as possible.

Don’t use general terms like “Despite struggles the character achieved many accomplishments.” That’s too general. Tell us they fought down a bear or lived on the streets. Tell us they earned millions selling baseball caps or earned the nobel prize in chemistry.

3. Consistency of voice between letter and piece.

Use the same vocabulary and tone in the query letter as you used in the work you’re trying to sell. This gives the agent a sense of the style the piece will be in. This is why it’s important that you write your own query letter, rather than having it written for you. No one likes the bait and switch.

Stay tuned for tips on how to finish off the letter, and please let me know how these tips work for you. I always love hearing from you. 


Pin It on Pinterest