I’ve noticed over the last few months that I make the same changes over and over again to my client’s queries. I’m happy to do it–I’ve got a weird, unhealthy love for queries–but I think a checklist of these basics might be helpful. Note: these guidelines are meant for single POV novels.

I also think it might be helpful to get a DISCOUNT on my editing services! Mention this blog post via my submission form or Twitter, and I’ll give you 15% OFF ALL CRITIQUES IN APRIL!


Paragraph 1

  1. Salutation: address ONE agent.
  2. Personalize the query to the agent. Why are you querying THEM with THIS book?
  3. Include the TITLE and the genre, plus the age category if you aren’t writing for adults.
  4. Optional: include word count.

Paragraph 2

  1. Introduce main character. Who is (s)he? What does (s)he want?
  2. What is the central conflict in the story?

Paragraph 3

  1. How does the main character respond to the conflict?
  2. What is at stake for your character if they don’t achieve their goal/stop the bad guy/find the lost object/rescue the king?

Paragraph 4

  1. This paragraph must include your TITLE, genre, and word count. I prefer to put the word count here (instead of paragraph 1).
  2. Include 1-2 comparative books, making sure to capitalize their titles and include the author’s name.

Paragraph 5

  1. Bio: If you have any experiences that informed your writing, include them here. This includes publications, even if they’re nonfiction and you write children’s books. Otherwise just tell me where you live and what you do for a living.

Paragraph 6

  1. Thank the agent for considering your submission. Let them know that you’ve included sample pages (check the submission guidelines for how many they want!)
  2. Sign your name. Include contact info, including Twitter name and blog.

AND THAT’S IT! Have questions? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget: mention this blog post and get 15% OFF ALL CRITIQUES IN APRIL!

Thanks for reading,


Reading + Writing
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