Succesful Queries

While searching the cyber world for query letter samples I found a wonderful blog site that I thought others may enjoy, as well. Written by Chuck Sambuchino the blog is titled, Guide to Literary Agents. In particular, I loved the series Successful Queries where query letters of published or near-published writers are posted along with the comments from the agents who now represent those writers. It's an interesting look into what an agent is thinking while they read. I picked three to link here, but there are many more great ones to peruse.

  • Miranda Kenneally's query for Score, (now represented by Sara Megibow) not only had a great voice, but she also explained how her story was different from others out there with a similar theme.  

  • Wake, by Lisa McMann (represented by Michael Bourret) is now a NYT's bestseller. Her query hooked her agent with the premise and the tag lines.

  • Karsten Knight's query (who is now represented by Mary Kole) for Wildfire, is cleverly written. It's clear each word was chosen carefully and it's funny.

All the queries had one or several tag lines that the agents saw as marketable. It seemed that their agent minds were already imagining how they would pitch this manuscript should the full prove to be as good as the query while reading.

Many agents commented on the first line of the query (not the intro para if their was one, many jumped right into the pitch) paragraph that pitches the story. So just like our manuscript's first line, this first line is super important and is often the tag line mentioned above.

Character voice was strong in all of the queries. The inciting incident and the battle the main character faces was also clear with in all the queries.

I for one will be polishing up my query to make sure all of the above are included.

Happy writing, everyone!!!


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Paula! It is SO helpful to read queries that worked, instead of being stuck with mere formulas.
    I'm going to go re-think mine now, too.

  2. I love that blog. I find a lot of new agents that could be good to query there too.


I heart comments.