How To Query a Literary Agent

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 Picking an agent:

Finding the right literary agent to represent your novel can be tricky, but there are a few good sources that can make the process easier. The best and most reliable source is if the agent has a blog where they keep their up-to-date submission guidelines posted, along with their current contact info. There is also a great website called http://www.agentquery.com/ that allows both fiction and nonfiction authors to search for an agent based on the genre of literature they write.

Writing the Letter:

Be sure your letter is formatted in a proper business way, with single spaced 12-point font. Allign all text to the left, and instead of indenting paragraphs, leave a single space between them.

In the top left hand corner include your contact info: name, address, telephone number, and email address.

When composing the letter, the first rule is to keep it short—one page is considered to be standard format for a query letter. The easiest way to write to an agent is to divide your letter into three parts: 1) the introduction, 2) the blurb, and 3) the conclusion.

The Introduction:

The first paragraph of your letter should get straight to the point. If you’re unpublished, tell the agent that you’re a new writer seeking representation for your manuscript. Tell them the name of the manuscript, the genre, and the total word count. If you’ve been published before, you’ll natuarlly want to include the name of the publised work, and the name of the company that published it.

The Blurb:

For the second paragraph, you want to summarize the plot of your book in 8-10 well-written sentences. Don’t go into lots of details or give lots of background on the story and its characters. Instead, try to imitate the blurbs that you see on the back of books at the bookstore. Also, try to end the summary in a way that intrigues the agent and makes them want to find out what happens next.

The Conclusion:

Always be sure to close the letter by thanking the agent for their time and consideration.

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