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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for Email Queries

Don’t leave! Yes, I used the word query. Truth is, you can’t get published if you don’t query. Most editors and agents prefer this method of submission. It’s green, eco-friendly,  and postage-free.

It’s also so darn easy if you do your homework.

Just like in the “old” days, there are submission guidelines you need to follow. There is no excuse not to know them. Just about everyone has a website or blog where these guidelines can be found. This is not a hardcore, you must do it like this, set of directions.

I'm just offering some common sense things to think about. So here goes.

Use the correct email address. Does it go to a Query@email.com address or to s specific person's email. Make sure you know.

Subject Line - use it. Include the word query, that’s what it is. Not using the word, won’t get them to open the email any faster. Actually, it might be the reason they delete it, unread.

Salutation - be professional. No “Whaat’s up, Dog! Dear Mr. (insert last name), Ms. (insert last name), or if you are on first name basis, Dear (insert name).

Body Text - keep it short and to the point. You know the cliche; hook, line, and sinker. Use it.
    Hook - Exactly what it sounds like, with name of project and page count.
    Line - One paragraph, description or pitch.
    Sinker - Tell them if you have have included sample pages and who you are.

Signature Block - Name and contact information, Include your email, web or blog address, and  a phone number.
    Example:    Samantha Writer


Know what to include:
Did they ask for a synopsis and the first chapter?
Do you insert into the email or as an attachment?

Everyone has different preferences. Make sure you know them.

Do you have any great email query tips? I would love for you to share them. Post them in comments.


  1. One of my tips would be to use voice. The query should have a voice just like your ms. does. An appealing voice in the query should shine through and attract the agent or editor, making them want to read more.

  2. I suggest keeping an Excel file of names, email addresses, sent dates and follow up dates as well. It is easy to think it has been months and month since you queried when it has only been a few weeks. A notes section with the expected turnaround time is also helpful. Great post!

  3. Make sure you study the agent/editor list of books to make sure your book fits! Great post.

  4. I always send a copy to myself before I send it out--just to make sure the formatting isn't screwy too.

  5. Great tips, in your post as well as the comments.

    For anyone submitting to UK agents: the submission process is quite different. Be sure to check out their websites.

  6. Hi. Lovely to meet and follow someone new. I like your post and it's good that others have added more to it.

    Thank you for visiting Eire. Hope you'll drop by again for F is for...


  7. Email queries has made life so much easier! I love them.

  8. I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Powerful Woman Writer Award.
    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.

  9. All good points. Thanks for the tips. Common sense, yes, but a reminder is always good, too.

    East for Green Eyes

  10. What I've used to get quick responses from agents was telling them about the marketability of the project. My impression of the publishing industry is that a good idea isn't good enough - you've got to prove you can sell an idea from the onset!! Lizzy Ford