Tips from a YA Editor by Anne Regan: Crafting a Query Letter
What’s a query letter?
- A short (single page) introduction of you and your book to a publisher or agent
- Use professional business letter format, font, and language
- Do your research about the publisher or agent so you can:
- Personalize the letter to a specific person (for example, the acquisitions editor)
- Show how your book meets their submission criteria
Start with the most important information first
- A “hook” – one sentence that captures the essence of your story and makes them want more
- To save his world, a hobbit must destroy a powerful magic ring.
- A farm boy joins the rebellion against an evil galactic empire.
State how your story fits what they publish or represent.
- I enjoy your fantasy novels and would appreciate your considering my novel Hobbit Wars.
- Always include the title, genre, and word count.
- Be sure these meet the submission guidelines for
your target publisher or agent.
Include a brief synopsis of the story
- No more than one or two short paragraphs – ideally no more than 150 words
- Focus on your main characters, their goals, and the obstacles they face to achieve them
- Don’t overdisclose – leave the editor or agent wanting to read more
- Include a sentence or two about yourself
- Include any writing credits, awards, or special background that influences your story
- Thank the editor or agent for their time and consideration
- Based on the submission guidelines, include the manuscript or excerpt or let them know it is available on request