Anyone who likes writing queries, raise your hand.
Most writers I know don't care for query writing. Thankfully, they aren't always necessary, and there are creative ways to get around them. When I've had to write one, though, there are a few basics I keep in mind. What are they? I'm glad you asked. Otherwise, we wouldn't have a Monday post. :)
1) Get right to the point. Query readers are busy; they don't have time to read a lengthy dissertation.
2) Use a good, concise hook. Share the main idea, illustrating enough to whet their appetite. Write smart and tight. Make every word count.
3) Pay attention. Get the details right, editor's name, address, etc. Research the market and know the publication and/or publisher.
4) The first impression is usually all you get. Unless they know your work, the query is the same as an interview; judgments are based on what they see and hear in that letter. Best foot forward time - no errors allowed.
What else? Well, there are other considerations, like should a query be written before or after the piece is done. (I think it depends.) Or what tweaks are necessary to suit an article, story, or book query. (Let's save those for another time.)
Need more food for thought? Check out what Laura Pauling shared in her post entitled Not Your Usual Query Tips. She encourages us to think outside the box to jump those query hurdles.
Hope Clark adds another angle to things (query and otherwise) in this post, Go Ahead, Talk Sweet to Me. Ah, yes, the benefits of doing your homework!
For even more help, get Elana Johnson's free download, From the Query to the Call. Elana's book comes out soon, so I think she knows a thing or two about the process.
Writing the query - love it or hate it? What tips have helped your query adventures?
Photo credits: lumix2004 http://www.sxc.hu/photo/588373