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So. The query letter isn't an exact science—in fact if you check out the interwebs, you'll find a lot of conflicting advice not just from writers, but from agents, which can really be rather confusing when you're looking for some solid query-letter-writing advice.
So naturally you end up here. Right? Right.
In a similar flash of brilliance that led me to write my How to Write a Masterpiece post, I have in fact unwittingly stumbled upon a chest of infinite query letter wisdom, that I feel compelled to share with you guys. You're welcome.
HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT QUERY LETTER*:
- Begin with Dear Sir/ Madam/ Agent/ You Awesome Person, You. First impressions are everything, and what better way to start off one of the most important letters of your writing career than with a general sir/madam opening?
- Include a photo of yourself, your three cats and your pet parrot. How can any sane agent say no to your parrot's adorable face?
- Declare your book to be the next Harry Potter/ Great Gatsby/ The Catcher in the Rye/ Hunger Games. This shows the agent that two things: 1) you like to read (or you at least know the names of uber-popular books) and 2) you're very confident in your work, and confidence is key!
- Make sure your query letter is an attachment. I mean really, who types their query letters in the body of the e-mail anymore, anyway?
- Send your query letter via Twitter. Bonus points for fitting your query into 140 characters!
- Send your query letter to the agent in a long list of agent e-mails. Not only do you save yourself the time of sending each e-mail individually, but now the agent knows who they're up against.
- Include the full manuscript as an attachment with the query letter. You already know they're going to want to read the full, anyway. You're just saving them the extra time of having to e-mail you and ask for it!
- Include lots! Of exclamation points!!! And sentence fragments! And typos! Yay!!!!
- Include a blurb from your mother. No self-respecting agent will even look at your manuscript unless it has the Mommy seal of approval.
- Write a book that's 200,000 words long. Instant approval.
- In fact, send the query letter before you've even finished writing the book. Fully written manuscripts are overrated, anyway.
- Query three different manuscripts in one query letter. Not only does this increase your chances of the agent possibly liking one of your manuscripts, but they also know you're a prolific writer. Win-win.
- Call them immediately after you send it. You know, to give them the heads up that your fantastic query letter is on its way and they should probably stop whatever they’re doing to read it immediately.
- Send your query letter to every agent at the agency simultaneously. One of them are bound to like it, right?
There are actually many more ways to write the perfect query letter, but this post would be ridiculously long if I gave you all of the query-writing secrets. Besides, I want to hear from you guys: what query letter secrets do you have to share?
* DISCLAIMER: By "perfect" query letter, I mean absolutely horrendous don't-you-even-think-about doing this in your query letter. You know, in case my sarcasm didn't come off as obvious as it did in my head.