Can I read your successful query letter? Got my fourth rejection today for Nine Days, in less than 24 hours. I know that there are all sorts of resources out there about 'how' to write a query, and I followed the basic instructions but it still feels like it lacks that certain something. I'd really like to see some real-life query letters that actually grabbed an agent's attention. Thanks -- MK

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Good one, Minerva.  Yes, that's an idea.  I actually just did a short book description that begins with his childhood in the streets: "In the streets of twelfth-century Kyoto, a homeless child is brutalized and left to die." 

I'm toying with the idea of a more general first sentence.  My reader likes to rewrite my text.  :)

You know, I was thinking. Those of you who have gotten agents in the past, would you mind if I PMed you a recent version of my queries and maybe get your take? I know you're not agents and can't be sure of what they are looking for, but as published authors, your opinion still is relevant so I can at least see if you are interested enough to read more. Thanks for any help. It's most appreciated! :)

Oh. sure.  I'll give it a shot.  Just remember that not one version fits all who apply or all agents.

Oh most certainly. I actually tailor each query to any individual agent. But I use a similar template each time and just weave in mentions that specifically relate to a given agent.

Are you including the first few pages of your ms (# tailored to agents' specs)? Because a lot of agents say they give query letters a cursory glance and go straight to the sample pages. Along those lines: are your first pages as tight and action packed as they could be?

It's not advisable to include sample pages unless the agents specifically ask for it. Those that want sample pages will ask for them. But there are plenty of agents who simply want a query letter. So I think it's important to give the agent want they want, but unless they specifically ask for some additional material beyond the query, one shouldn't just assume. 

I think it's good if they would give the author a chance to impress in their initial pages since query writing is such a lifeless process sometimes. 


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