I was recently asked by my talented client Kristi Belcamino to join her in a guest post for Writer’s Digest in Chuck Sambuchino’s “Successful Queries” series to share her query letter and my response. I shared why I was drawn to it and ultimately went on to represent and sell the book. I love this kind of thing because it feels so simple and yet I know for prospective authors looking for advice this kind of feedback, which includes a real life example, can be really useful.
Book publishing is obviously an inherently subjective business so what appeals to me is not necessarily what appeals to others. However, when I look at a successful query letter, I find there are certain things that are generally done well.
In Kristi’s case, she introduces herself and her background in a way that is intriguing. An actual female crime reporter? Bring it on!
Then we see a first line that sucks you right in: Gabriella Giovanni has never met a man more exciting than a murder. I’m beyond interested to know more about this character.
She goes on to CLEARLY and CONCISELY pitch the book in a way that makes you want to read more. My best advice for writers looking to pitch their books in a query letter is to try to write the jacket copy of the book. You can go into greater detail about the story and characters in a synopsis or follow-up email, but for me (and again, this is subjective), I want to see the elevator pitch because if you can describe your work in a clear, concise and compelling way, then I can too when I speak with editors on your behalf.
Finally, she offers additional information about her writing background which shows me that not only has she received good feedback from industry professionals for her work, but that she also has worked hard on her book and takes her writing seriously.
Take a look at our post and let us know what you think and if there’s anything else you see in Kristi’s query or my response that’s worth targeting. Happy querying!