Query Letter Tips - How to Write an Agent Query

Tips for Writing a Query Letter – How to Write an Agent Query

Authors and Literary Agents Writing Tips for Query LetterQuery Letter Tips – What do you need to know about submitting your query letter to literary agents using online submission forms? This article explains, and it’s part of our free 15-part guidelines about How to Write a Compelling Query Letter by Mark Malatesta, a former publishing agent and former Marketing & Licensing Manager of a well-known book publisher.

This free training with query letter tips addresses the most popular questions asked by authors about query letters. For instance: What is a query letter? What is a query letter hook? What is the best query letter length? What is the difference between an agent query and a book synopsis? What do successful query letters look like? What is the best query format? Where can you go to see a sample query letter or query letter examples? And how can you get a query letter critique?

This article has query letter tips
for using online submission forms.

Here’s an example literary agent online submission form:

Online form sample to submit query - query letter tips

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Query Letter Tips – Online Submission Forms

Some literary agencies don’t accept query letters by email or postal mail. The only way you can submit an agent query is by using an online submission form through their website. In other words, all the information that’s in your agent query has to be divided up into smaller sections and entered on the literary agency’s website.

This can be very easy,
or complicated.

It all depends
on the literary agency.

The annoying part of using these forms is the fact that they’re all so different. And, for some reason, many of the agents that use online submission forms, ask for information that other agents don’t ask for. That means more work for you, so I visited every online submission form that I could find on literary agent websites. And I created a list below of all the things you might be asked.

That way, if you decide to do so, you can collect all that information BEFORE you come across a literary agency online submission form… so you don’t get bogged down in finding information when you’re trying to get a lot of queries out quickly.

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Query Letter Tips – What Types of Information Are Required?

Be prepared to provide any/all of the following information when querying book agents through online submission forms:

  • Your name, email address, phone number, website address, and postal address
  • The name of the literary agent that you’d like to have review your work
  • How you found the literary agent (referral, writers’ conference, etc.)?
  • Whether your query submission is exclusive
  • Your book title (and subtitle if you have one)
  • Your genre and/or sub-genre
  • A one-sentence description
  • Target market age group
  • The word count or expected word count
  • The number of chapters
  • Illustration information if you’re planning on having illustrations
  • Estimated time to complete the book if it’s not already written
  • Your submission history (amount of detail wanted varies)
  • A table of contents (nonfiction)
  • Book synopsis and/or chapter summaries
  • Related and competing book titles
  • Author biography
  • Previous publications and publisher information
  • Marketing and promotional opportunities
  • A favorite sentence from the manuscript you are submitting
  • The name and author of the last book you’ve read
  • Which writer has most influenced you?
  • Any questions or comments
  • Book proposal and/or sample pages or chapters

If you want to know which literary agencies have online submission forms, you can access all book agencies in our free Directory of Literary Agents here on our Literary Agencies website. There you’ll find every literary agency, along with their preferred query letter method (or methods). And you’ll be able to submit your query letter to them.

Now that you’ve seen my best query letter tips for online forms
click here to see how you can get a Query Letter Critique.

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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.