If you are trying to find a publisher for your book, you will have to first land a literary agent to promote your work and find the right publisher for it. To land a deal with them, you will need to contact them by writing a query letter that will explain the context of your book and how it can be the best hit.
So, it’s the first impression that the agent will have of your work and can make or break your chances of getting published. While there are standard tips on writing query letters, such as following submission guidelines and being concise, there are also unique approaches that can help your letter stand out from the rest.
In this blog, we will explore seven such tips for writing query letters to literary agents that will increase your chances of getting noticed and ultimately getting published.
When it comes to writing query letters to literary agents, the first and most important step is to do your research. Doing your research will help you find what they are interested in and what types of work they have handled before.
This means finding an agent who is interested in your genre and has a successful track record in representing books like yours. It will help you personalize your letter to their interests and needs and will also increase your chances of getting accepted.
To do this, first of all, start by making a list of agents who represent books similar to yours and have a strong presence on social media and the internet. Once you have done this, show that you’ve done your homework by referencing a book they’ve represented or an article they’ve written.
It is essential to follow the submission guidelines provided by the agent or agency, as it demonstrates your professionalism and attention to detail. These guidelines may include the length of the letter, the format, and the specific information that should be included.
Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in your query being rejected without being read, so it’s important to take your time to read and understand them thoroughly. If you can’t find the submission guidelines on the agent’s website, try checking their social media pages or searching online writing forums.
Additionally, to make your letter more personalized, make sure to address them by their name and spell it correctly, as this also shows your attention to detail and respect for the agent’s work, which ultimately puts you above others.
The hook is the opening of your letter that grabs the agent’s attention and makes them want to read more about you and your book. A good hook should be concise, clear, and intriguing. Moreover, it should convey the essence of your story and give the agent a sense of what makes it unique.
To write a compelling hook, you should think carefully about what makes your story stand out. Is it the characters, the setting, the plot, or the writing style? Whatever it is, try to job it down in a few sentences that will make the agent want to know more.
Remember, agents receive hundreds of queries every week, so you need to make sure that your hook stands out from the crowd. Take your time to craft something that is both compelling and unique to your story.
A brief synopsis of your manuscript will give the literary agent an idea of what your book is about, including its genre, plot, and main characters. Keep in mind that this is not the same as a book blurb or summary, so make sure to keep it concise and to the point.
Start by introducing your main character and the setting, then briefly summarize the conflict and what the character stands to lose. Avoid giving away the ending or major plot twists because it will distract them from the main point of the story. But make sure to include enough information to entice the agent to want to read more.
A general rule of thumb is to keep the synopsis to a maximum of 2 paragraphs. This way, you will be able to focus only on the important elements of the story.
5. Mention Your Author Platform
An author platform refers to the ways in which you can reach and connect with potential readers, such as through social media, a personal website, or speaking engagements. In your query letter, it’s important to mention any relevant author platform you may have.
This can demonstrate to the agent that you have a strong audience and the potential to sell books. Be sure to include any social media handles, the number of followers you have, and any relevant media appearances or speaking engagements. It will increase your authority, and your book will most likely get accepted.
If you don’t have a strong author platform yet, don’t worry. You can still mention any relevant experience that might help you connect with potential readers.
When you are writing a query letter, it is important to maintain a professional tone throughout the entire letter. This includes using proper grammar and spelling, addressing the agent by their proper name, and avoiding overly casual language or slang.
It’s also important to keep in mind that literary agents receive a high volume of queries on a daily basis, so being respectful of their time and attention is crucial. Avoid lengthy letters, and instead, focus on briefly conveying your message and pitch in a clear and concise manner.
No matter how well you have written your book or how much of a big author you are, landing a literary agent can be difficult and demands patience. Once you have written the query letter to the agent, be patient enough to wait for some time for their response.
This period can range from a month to two. After this, you can follow up with the literary agent by thanking them for their time and consideration and briefly restate the title of your work and the date you submitted your query