How to Write a Query Letter

How to Write a Literary Agent Query

Training Write a Query Letter How ToHow to Write a Query Letter – This section of our website about query letters includes a FREE 15-part guide on writing a Query Letter. This guide was created by Mark Malatesta, a former literary agent and Marketing & Licensing Manager for a well-known book publisher. For your convenience we’ve posted short summaries for each section in our guidelines about how to write agent queries. That way you can find exactly what you’re looking for, fast and easy. Scroll below now to discover everything you want to know about writing an agent query.

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How to Write a Query Letter

Part 1- An Introduction to These Guidelines

These guidelines include everything you want to know about how to write a query letter. For example: What is a query letter? What is the best query length? What’s the most popular query format? Is there a sample query, query example, or query template you can model? What is a query hook and what is the best one to use? What is a SASE for query letters? What is the best email format for query letters? Where can you get help writing your book query? And more.

So let’s get started…

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Part 2 – What Is An Agent Query?

What is an agent query? An agent query is simply a “pitch letter” that writers submit to literary agents, book publishers, and/or magazine editors. This article called What Is a Query Letter? explains. It’s part two of our free 15-part training guidelines about how to write a query letter.

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Part 3 – Literary Agent Query Warning

Did you know that many authors, literary agents, and other publishing professionals give bad advice about how to write agent queries? Of course, they don’t do it on purpose, but you need to be aware of this so you don’t follow their bad advice. This article called Literary Agent Query Letter Warning explains. It’s part three of our free 15-part training guidelines about writing effective agent queries.

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Part 4 – Agent Query Examples

Where can you find the best examples of query letters to help you write your agent query? This article called Query Letter Examples shares an example query letter, and it shows you where to learn more. This article is part four of our free 15-part training guidelines about how to write a successful query letter.

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Part 5 – Writing An Agent Query

What’s the best way to create a query that helps you stand out from the crowd–the thousands of other agent queries written by other authors trying to get book agents every month. This article called Writing a Query Letter explains. It’s part five of our free 15-part training guidelines about writing irresistible agent queries.

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Part 6 – Agent Query Template

What’s the best template to use when writing a agent query? What’s the best structure to use? And what order should you put everything in? This article called Query Letter Template explains. It’s part six of our free 15-part training guidelines about how to write a query letter.

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Part 7 – Sample Agent Query

Where can you find a sample successful query letter that you can learn from and model–so you can get a top literary agent, publisher, and book deal? This article called Sample Query Letter explains. It’s part seven of our free 15-part training guidelines about crafting agent queries that work.

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Part 8 – Agent Query vs Synopsis

What’s the difference between a book synopsis and a query letter, and how should you use the two things together so they complement each other? This article called Query Letter vs Synopsis explains. It’s part eight of our free 15-part training guidelines about how to write a great query letter.

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Part 9 – Agent Query Length

How long should your agent query be? One page? Two pages? More? This article called Query Letter Length explains. It’s part nine of our free 15-part training guidelines about how to write irresistible agent queries.

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Part 10 – Agent Query Hook

What is an agent query hook–and what are the best query letter hooks from query letters that worked? This article called Query Letter Hook explains. It’s part ten of our free 15-part training guidelines about how to write successful agent queries.

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Part 11 – Agent Query Format

What are the different ways you can format your query. And, what’s the best way to format your query? This article called Query Letter Format explains. It’s part eleven of our free 15-part training guidelines about how to write the best agent queries.

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Part 12 – What Is a SASE for An Agent Query?

What is a SASE? And what do you need to know about using a SASE when querying book agents? This article called What Is a SASE for a Query Letter? explains. It’s part twelve of our free 15-part training guidelines about how to write query letters.

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Part 13 – Email Query Format

Are there different ways to format an email query? What is the best email query format? And do all book agents want email queries formatted the same way? This article called Email Query Letter Format explains. It’s part thirteen of our free 15-part training guidelines about writing query letters.

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Part 14 – Agent Query Tips for Online Submissions

What guidelines do you need to follow when submitting your query to literary agents using an online submission form? This article called Query Letter Tips for Online Queries explains. It’s part fourteen of our free 15-part training guidelines about writing agent queries.

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Part 15 – Agent Query Critique

What is a query critique? What does it involve? And where can you get one? This article called Query Letter Critique explains. It’s part fifteen of our free 15-part training guidelines about how to write a query letter.

Now click here to to start your free training and
read part one of these guidelines called
What Is a Query Letter?

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Author Success Story: Memoir  
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"I got the number one agent on my wish list thanks to Mark. He’s done more than 100 deals in just two year and has a long list of accolades, including being talked about in the New York Times. Within 4 minutes of sending out my revised query letter, my literary agent called me on the phone. Less than 30 days later I had three major publishers making offers. And, a few days after that, I signed a deal with Random House. Mark’s query letter did that." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author of the memoir Lights Out (Penguin Random House)   
Author Success Story: Nonfiction/Narrative Nonfiction  
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"Berkley Books recently published my book in hardcover after Mark helped me get multiple agents interested in my work. I was able to speak with literary agents from top agencies such as Janklow & Nesbit, Trident Media, Anderson Lit, and Folio. I signed with Don Fehr at Trident Media and a short time later I had a publishing contract! Having Mark on your side is incredibly valuable." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author of the narrative nonfiction book Single Handed (Penguin Random House / Berkley Books)   
Author Success Story: Memoir/Christian  
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"Before I decided to work with Mark, I submitted my book to literary agents but didn’t get any interest. After I revised my query letter and book proposal, I got several agencies interested and decided to sign with Fine Print Lit, a top literary agency in New York. They got publishers bidding against each other and I ended up signing a contract with Thomas Nelson (an imprint of Harper Collins) for what I’ve been told by several people is a very large advance. What cloud is higher than 9?" [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author of the memoir The Unbreakable Boy (Harper Collins / Thomas Nelson)   
Author Success Story: Fiction  
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"Before I revised my query letter with Mark, I got no responses. When I sent out my new query, I got four requests for more material within 24 hours The support Mark provides is fantastic. His suggestions changed my original query significantly, but they also helped me see that I had something to offer. Now I have a top agent! Mark is smart and reliable and working with him has made all the difference." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author of novels including The Wings That Fly Us Home (Penguin Random House / Ballantine Books)   
Author Success Story: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller  
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"Ballantine Books published my first two novels in hardcover and paperback after Mark Malatesta helped create an auction and bidding war for my books, resulting in a six-figure offer. Mark is one of the rare and genuine good guys, but he also has incredible information (even his ideas have ideas). One of the most important keys to success as an author is good information and support." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author of the mystery thrillers 24/7 and Black Valley (Penguin Random House / Ballantine Books)   
Author Success Story: Fiction/Young Adult  
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"When I got the phone call about my publishing offer with Harcourt, I was in my office with three other people. I slammed down the phone, ran into the secretary’s office, threw myself down on the floor and said, ‘I got a deal!’ They sat there and held my hand. I was speechless. I’ve never ever been that happy in my life. On my wedding day I wasn’t that happy! Getting married and having children are wonderful experiences, but I didn’t ‘work’ to get my children!" [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author of many YA novels including The Body of Christopher Creed (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)   
Author Success Story: Nonfiction/Self-Help  
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"Mark helped me get five different offers for representation from top literary agents. I signed with Stephanie Tade who got me a 6-figure book deal with Penguin Books, which published my book in hardcover! When Stephanie first contacted me, she was very excited and said, ‘I can’t get your book proposal out of my head. It’s brilliant – I mean, really, it’s fantastic. Editors should be salivating by the time they get to the chapter outline.’ Working with Mark was completely worth it." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author of the self-help book Woman on Fire (Penguin Random House / Penguin Books)   
Author Success Story: Nonfiction/Business  
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"Not long after Mark helped me land a top literary agent, I got a call from my agent letting me know that I had three different publishing offers from well-known publishers: Amacom, Palgrave Macmillan, and McGraw-Hill who recently published my book in hardcover! It was a fantastic feeling and a huge smile came over my face. For a moment I felt like life was perfect and the angels were singing." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author of the business book Customer Focused Process Innovation (McGraw-Hill)   
Author Success Story: Eleven Fiction and Nonfiction Titles  
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"Finding Mark has been both a treat and a treasure. I now have two different agents for my work, and a book deal with Sky Horse Publishing. I’ve served as Creative Director of the TIME Incorporated Magazine Group; Director of Time World News Service, a Founding Director of TIME-Life Films; Executive Producer for both the CBS and NBC Television Networks; and Producer/ Director: Movies of the Week: CBS Cinema Center Films and Universal MCA. You just can’t do it alone today as an author." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author of eleven fiction and nonfiction books (Harper Collins and many others)   
Author Success Story: Fiction  
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"It has been an awfully long and bloody road towards publication but I’m finally on my way. Hard work, struggle, disappointments, and perseverance are important. So is following the advice of publishing industry experts like Mark. He helped me get a top literary agent and now my novel, The Wrong Hand is being published by Penguin Books and their prestigious Michael Joseph imprint, which is ‘principally interested in publishing Top Ten Bestsellers’. It’s hard not to be excited." [Click here to see all Mark Malatesta reviews]

Author of the novel The Wrong Hand (Penguin / Michael Joseph)   

About Mark Malatesta

MARK MALATESTA is a former literary agent turned author coach. Mark now helps authors of all genres (fiction, nonfiction, and children's books) get top literary agents, publishers, and book deals through his company Literary Agent Undercover and The Bestselling Author. Mark's authors have gotten six-figure book deals, been on the NYT bestseller list, and published with houses such as Random House, Scholastic, and Thomas Nelson. Click here to learn more about Mark Malatesta and click here for Reviews of Mark Malatesta.