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Successful queries to learn from, and a prize!

As you all know by now, I’m a huge fan of writersdigest.com. I think they offer such great resources to writers. And now I think I’ve found the most useful series yet, and not just because it’s edited by the very entertaining Chuck Sambuchino, with whom I broke bread at the recent Writers’ League of Texas conference.

Successful Queries, of which there are already 63 installments, offers readers an actual query letter followed by a critique from the agent who agreed to represent it. These are all books that have gone on to be published by major publishers so there is a ton of great information here to take away.  The letters themselves would be reason enough to spend some time checking it out, but the agent critiques are also extremely valuable to learn what agents are looking for and what stood out in a particular query.

What I’ve noted as a general rule is that the queries that work best are sometimes the simplest and most concise. Good writers with strong stories can pitch their books in just a few sentences, as flap copy does for published books. It doesn’t have to be long to be good.

Take a look and see if you agree with my assessment that this is a useful exercise, not to mention it’s free and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. And if you’re so inclined, tell us which query is your favorite and why, and I will pick at random a winner to receive a DGLM umbrella!

4 Responses to Successful queries to learn from, and a prize!

  1. Melissa says:

    I really like the Successful Queries series. It’s so helpful to see what works and doesn’t! ‘

    One of my favorites is the query for Meg Moore’s The Arrivals. She quickly, clearly introduces a larger cast of characters and what challenges they’re facing, plus places the novel within a larger context (of other books that “use domestic settings to illuminate universal themes”).

  2. Lynn says:

    I am also a fan of Chuck and his wonderful website, writersdigest.com. It’s a goldmine for any writer hoping to one day find an agent and have their work published. Besides his series, How I Got My Agent and 7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, Successful Queries is one that I read faithfully.

    A recent addition, The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston is a favorite for several reasons. She dives right into the story from her first sentence, the voice of her protagonist comes through, and the simplicity of her letter is an asset. Less is more in this case and we do want to know more. Her agent Sarah Davies said, “…my attention was definitely tickled by the query…” and isn’t that what a successful query is suppose to do?

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