I don’t share this with a lot of people, but I spent five years looking for an agent.
I know. It seemed to take me forever to find representation when, all around me, other writers were getting signed by amazing agents all the freaking time. In fact, one of my all-around favorite writers (and people) got offered representation by the first agent she queried.
Let me say that again, because it bears repeating. She queried one agent, and was offered representation. One!
Meanwhile, I was sending out query after query, crossing my fingers and hoping. And still, nothing happened. Not only wasn’t I getting an offer, but I wasn’t getting many partial or full requests, either.
Clearly, I was doing something wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what.
Learning how to write a query letter is tough business
After graduating from college, I got a hired to be an assistant in a literary agent’s office. Suddenly it was my job to sort through the thousands of queries he received every day, and request the ones that caught my interest.
You can see where I’m going here. It quickly became crystal clear why I wasn’t seeing the sort of responses I wanted to be seeing.
My query letter stunk.
This is why seeing query letter samples is so important
I was mortified. I’d been sending this thing out for years, after all, and I’d done all this research. I was so sure it was good! But seeing all these examples of other—much better—query letters proved how wrong I was.
I rewrote my whole query letter from scratch. And something kind of weird happened…I started seeing real results. Full requests went through the roof. Several agents reached out to say that, while they weren’t excited about this novel (a middle-grade about an evil imaginary friend that didn’t work for many reasons) they wanted to see what I wrote next.
And then, less than a year after I switched up my query, I got an offer of representation.
There aren’t a lot of things in this industry that we have total and complete control over—query letters are one of them. It’s up to you to make your letter as good as it can possibly be.
So don’t make the same mistake I did. Click here to take a look at my old (terrible) query letters, with comments from me on why they didn’t work, and check out the query that finally helped me nab my agent.
All that in one little download. That’s a steal.
Don’t be like me. Write a good query the first time out.