When I was querying agents for my debut novel the first time, I couldn’t rid myself of feeling the novel’s ending sucked. So, I re-worked it, until getting it right, and now I’m truly ready to query agents.

Since this website is a space for the underlying turbulence around relationships, career and writing, it’s only fitting I talk about the turbulence I’m experiencing with writing this query letter, before giving you a resource below on how to do it well.

It’s amazing, the dread I’m feeling, as I go back to the drawing table and create both my query letter and synopsis for Miserably Happy. I’ve been to enough writing workshops to know I have my work cut out for me, grabbing an agent’s attention with a stay at home mom protagonist on a new career mission! Off the bat she doesn’t sound so “special.”

Yet, this protagonist’s appeal is just that— she is every woman who has ever experienced the battle between motherhood and career and all the dissatisfying and satisfying elements in both. And she has the audacity to listen to herself and leave her marriage (wink), only to experience further disillusionment. Finding her way back to center is a challenge most people can relate to.

As much as I’ve dreaded the thought of starting over on my querying journey, it’s already become easier, after taking the initial step of pulling up QueryTracker again. Sometimes you just have to take action and the dread begins to lessen. Researching the internet for this excellent resource below helped as well. I guess my underlying fear is rejection, like in most things, but if we don’t try, we never have a shot at breaking through to our higher dimensions.

For me, the easiest way to tackle the querying process was reading through the post I’m referencing here, then going back through it and breaking down the steps.

I will number my personal steps below, but once you read through this author’s post, I recommend doing the same thing— creating your own list of what you want to tackle, in a sequence that works for you. The link to her post is at the end.

Thankfully, the first bit of advice she gives, finishing the manuscript before querying, is something I’ve accomplished. I can leave that off the to-do list, ha!

The post gives us 4 elements of a query letter:

“I recommend your query include these elements, in no particular order (except the closing):

  • The housekeeping: your book’s genre/category, word count, title/subtitle
  • The hook: the description of your story and the most critical query element; 150-300 words is sufficient for most narrative works
  • Bio note: something about yourself, usually 50-100 words
  • Thank you & closing: about a sentence

I consider personalization or customization of the query optional. More on that later.”

Below is my personal “to-do” list:

1. The Housekeeping

Book’s genre/category, word count, title/subtitle

Hopefully my book’s subtitle isn’t a regrettable piece of shit… (important to keep a sense of humor in this process…)

Importantly, the post mentions later that if we mention genre, we should also offer up comps.

2. Research Comps

The author of this post tells us not all agents asks for comparables, but I want to see what I dig up here. It’s good to be educated on the marketplace, and when we’re busy writing, sometimes we’re not reading as much. Click here for the link offered in the post to research comps.

3. Personalize My Letter

After researching who publishes my comps, I’ll dig for possible authentic personalization for the letter.

4. Determine How I Want to Open My Letter

For me, the best way is to start with my story.

5. Work on the Hook!

The author of the post gives several formulas to get us started, so check those out. She also includes the hook used for The DaVinci Code, which is helpful.

6. Write the Bio

Read through the author’s pointers on writing the bio and take it from there.

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