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If you’re writing a query letter asking a literary agent to represent your book, there are key phrases that might help your cause. Our expert query letter writers share the strategies that can get better results when used in our clients’ letters.
1. My XX,000-word [genre] book, Title Here.
The first line of your query letter is key: It lays the groundwork for everything that comes after. By putting the most important information first instead of burying it deep in the body of your letter, you demonstrate that you’re not one for wasting time.
2. Thanks so much for your time. I truly appreciate it.
Cookie-cutter phrases that profess your gratitude won’t make a personal connection with literary agents. Instead, choose language that feels natural and genuine when expressing thanks.
3. I hope to explore this book’s series potential with you.
Instead of telling an agent that you’ve already written nine of the ten books in your series—when you haven’t even sold the first one—express the possibility of a marketable series. If the literary agent shows interest in your first book, you can always go into detail about what’s already written in further discussions. Learn more about pitching a book series to literary agents.
4. I’m the author of Title Here (publisher, date).
If you forget to include your book publisher and date in your author bio, literary agents might peg you for a newbie. If you self-published, specify that as well!
5. I self-published this book in [year], but have only just started to approach literary agents. OR I self-published, but haven’t done any marketing beyond friends and family.
If your book has been available but hasn’t had many sales, it may help to explain why.
6. I am a member of XYZ Writing Organization and have attended the XYZ Writer’s Conference.
No publishing credits? That’s okay! The important thing is to show agents that you’re taking your craft seriously. Learn more about how to make the most of your author bio even if you haven’t been published.
7. I have begun preliminary marketing efforts to build my audience on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Even if you don’t have a gazillion fans on Facebook yet, you can still show that you’re actively setting the stage for a fabulous fan base. Learn more about how to get more Facebook fans.
8. I hope you’ll visit my author website to learn more.
Directing a literary agent to your author website suggests that there’s lots more to say, and it demonstrates that you take your online presence seriously. Tip: Web Design Relief creates affordable, professional websites specifically for writers.
9. When I’m not writing, I enjoy…
Because social media has had such a huge impact on book marketing strategies, it can help to demonstrate that you’ve got a personality that makes you likable, interesting, and warm.
Did You Know There Are Some Things You Shouldn’t Say In Your Query?
As important as it is to say all the right things in your query letter for literary agents, there are a few phrases that you should absolutely steer clear of, phrases that are simply TMI or that betray a lack of knowledge about the publishing industry. Find out which phrases will send literary agents running: What Not To Say In Your Query Letter.