Back in the day when I was trying to get an agent, a publisher, a fishmonger, anyone who might even consider reading and publishing one of my novels, I worked tirelessly to perfect the dreaded Query Letter. Two words that strike bowel-weakening fear and dread into even the most thick-skinned writer. I wondered, what should I say? Even more importantly, what should I not say? What should I include? Not include? I don’t know if it was an inept query letter that meant it took me eight years to get a book deal, or just that my novels didn’t fit into the right box, as I was repeatedly told.
Eventually, ironically, at the end of 2014, when I FINALLY got a book deal with Orenda for my debut novel How to be Brave, I didn’t need one. When I saw on Twitter that Karen Sullivan was starting up her own indie publishing house, I rather riskily and cheekily (two adverbs in one sentence, to show that it generally isn’t the done thing) tweeted her about my book, and she said she liked the sound of it, and to send three chapters and a synopsis over. The rest, as they say, is history.
Then, during the lockdowns of 2020, I wrote two books that I knew I needed an agent for. One was a memoir, and the other was a dystopian thriller. Yes, I sort of lost my mind. So, it was back to the dreaded Query Letter. Even though I’d had six, almost seven, books published at that point, I knew I still needed the killer letter to hook me an agent. I drafted and re-drafted, drafted and re-drafted, drafted and re-drafted. Which is all good and well, but now I needed the right agent to send it to. Then I saw this on Twitter. Good old Twitter. It’s changed my life.
Not only did Emily’s banner (three beautiful pictures of my idol, Marilyn Monroe) speak to me, but I loved her general demeanour, and that she was looking for what I had to offer. So, with trembling hands, I tried her out with my edited-a-million-times Query Letter. She responded very quickly, and very keenly, and now she is my agent. So, would you like to see the letter that got me my agent? Of course you would. I’m not saying it’s perfect, or the only way to write them, but I’m sharing in the hope that it inspires or helps you. Good luck.