Are query letters that important?
A query letter is a vital document for writers seeking traditional publishers or literary agents. It’s a short letter that includes critical details about your book — genre, word count, title, synopsis — as well as demonstrates your awareness of the market. The query also includes a few details about you — the author! A good query letter will pique an agent’s interest and lead to requests for a partial or full.
Special attention must be paid to the tone, structure, length and focus of the letter. Writing one is a significantly different exercise from writing a novel and often requires professional help. Many editors have worked with and received numerous query letters over their professional lives and can help you craft yours into a convincing and astute document.
But where can you find a knowledgeable editor with the right publishing experience to review and improve your query letter?
What does a “query letter review” offer?
A query letter review is a service provided by some Reedsy editors to help you create the best possible query letter. The process involves reviewing your letter and making detailed recommendations on structure, tone and content. A good query letter review will help you strengthen your hook and compose a compelling, tightly-woven synopsis. These particularly tricky aspects of the query frequently make the difference between grabbing an agent’s interest and fading into the slush.
Some of our editors will include a review of a certain number of pages with the query letter review — generally somewhere between 10 and 50pg. This is the number of pages likely to be requested alongside your query letter. Make sure you understand exactly what your query letter review includes before finalizing your editor selection on the Reedsy marketplace.
A query letter review cannot guarantee agent responses or representation from a literary agent, but in a highly competitive environment where agents receive hundreds or thousands of letters a year, a brilliant query letter and the advice of an experienced editor can be extremely valuable.
When should you seek a query letter review?
You’ll get the most value from professional feedback if your letter is already well-polished. Make sure you do some research first on your book's market and on how to write a strong query letter (you’ll find some resources below).
Once you have a solid draft, either send it to a few agents and wait for their feedback, or immediately hire a professional to make it as strong as possible.
If you’ve already sent your letter to dozens of agents, and have received nothing back other than standard rejections, this means there is something wrong with your query letter. In this case, definitely consider hiring an editor to tell you what is wrong, rather than spend more time querying unsuccessfully.