Writer's Digest


Here’s an eye-opening statistic: Active literary agencies receive more than 20,000 query letters each year. Some agencies attempt to respond to each individually, and others respond only if interested. Agents have no obligation, not even an ethical one, to respond to your unsolicited query.

Some social media–savvy agents handle the overload by hosting query parties, in which they open up for queries every few months, for several weeks, and promote the event through social media. Some agencies accept only snail-mail queries, and answer only those that include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE), although that’s increasingly rare.

However your query arrives at the agency, it must stand out from the other 19,999. How can you accomplish such a feat? By using three simple but important ingredients: professionalism, suitability and intrigue. The same holds true for queries you send directly to publishers.

Your query letter has one central purpose: to get the agent or publisher

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