This website helped me learn how to write a query, but also taught me about how serious queries are to agents, also something I didn't know before. I also learned how difficult it can be to take your 100,000 word novel down to a paragraph. How much should you include? How do I hook the agent and get them interested in my work when I have such a couple of sentences to do so? This website site breaks down queries line by line, if necessary. It talks about the basics paragraph by paragraph.
Paragraph 1 should hook your reader almost instantly. You want to get your agent's attention and the best way to do that is to dive into your story with the who, when and where. It sets the tone for your entire novel that they might want to read so make it good and reel them in.
Paragraph 2 is the synopsis, which was the hardest for me to write. They want to know my entire novel in a few sentences, which was very challenging for someone who loves to explain things in great detail. 150 words is what they are looking for and unless you write book jackets in your spare time, you might struggle with this as I did. Write what you can and then cut it down until it's a short paragraph with the majority of your novel's high points included.
Paragraph 3 is the writer's bio. For me this was the shortest of all because I have no writing credits to my name. At all. If you're like me, don't let that discourage you because I was still able to sign to an agency by letting my novel speak for itself. I was an English major in school, which might have helped with the editing and writing technique, but mostly I wrote my book because I love to write and create characters of my very own. I love to read as well so I've had a lot of time to study the romantic suspense genre and see what people like and model my work after the successful writers. If you do have writing credits, good for you! Tell them about everything you got, even if it was being published in a writer's journal, e-zine, etc. Talk about all mentions of your work, even if it's a different genre than what you're writing now. I had a paper published in a librarian's journal so I could have included that, even though it doesn't pertain to my life as a writer of romantic fiction.
The Closing: be sure to thank them for your time because agents are very busy people and get thousands of queries a week. It's the easiest part of the query, but still extremely important.
If you're like me, I'm a visual person and HAVE to see examples for me to understand what exactly it is I want to say. Check out these examples of successful queries and good luck querying! I'd love to read some of yours so be sure to message me or comment on this blog.