Here’s just a few tips from people, websites and personal experience about sending in an E query.

  • Do Your Research:

Google and every other search engine the agent you’re planing on sending your manuscript to. Do they accept emails? What are their guidelines? Do they represent your type of work? Why are you querying them? 

  • Then stop researching

There is such a thing as too much. you’ll get to point where one website says do this and another says do that. I was reading ‘keep it sweet less than 2 to 3 paragraphs’ then i’d read ‘make sure you add thing 1, 2, 3’ which would be well over the short and sweet rule. Get all the facts you need, be informed and then use common sense. ultimately you’re on your own and you must decide how to use the knowledge you’ve gained.

  • Type up your email first

You’re going to want your own copy to work with if you get an R because you can’t just send the same one out again and again.

  • Place the text in the body of the email, don’t use attachments
  • In the subject line put something simple and to the point, like “manuscript Query” and the name of your story or your name.
  • Very importantly, place your details at the top of the email like you would on a letter. for one thing this makes it easier for the agent to reply – especially if they reply at a later date. you don’t want them having to search through your whole email to find your name and then going to the bottom to find your reply details. Always put your details in the email because depending on spam filters some agents can’t simply hit the reply button.
  • Be VERY professional. I can’t tell you how to write your query but i can tell you that there isn’t a good word online for a query that says ‘my manuscript is ready for you go to my website’

One way to look at it is that you aren’t the customer in this transaction the agent is and they are the one you need to impress or to put it another way they are the employer and your the prospective employee – you need to be on your best behaviour and present yourself in the best light as well as your manuscript.

  • If the agent asks for the first five pages paste them into the body of the email.

And edit them first – aim for no spelling and no grammar errors.

  • Use standard fonts and sizes – agents are busy business people not artists.

This one’s sometimes hard for us because we are artists, we want to put heart and soul into the whole project, plus some colour and some pizzaz and so on. Dont. Refrain and create a clean email query. Why? because what is ultimately going to sell your manuscript is how well you write – the font on your email doesn’t help the agent at his next lunch meeting but your writing, your words, your ideas will – that is what you want to put into the email.

  • Send the email to yourself first.

Sounds silly and i nearly skipped it on my first e query but i did it and i discovered that my email address wasnt live (make it live – or hot – so the agent can click on it and reply. do the same for any blogs or websites even though most agents don’t have the time to go looking at such things) I also discovered that an image – a logo – in the base of my email sent it into the spam folder and i couldn’t have that. So i deleted all images. Also because of the way sizing changes i discovered that i hadn’t really used much space – so i added a few more important details. So it pays to send it to yourself first.

  • I don’t want to tell you what to include in the email, all agents and authors are different so it changes for everyone but i will tell you what i included:
  1. My contact details
  2. Dear (agents full name)
  3. Name of manuscript
  4. A 2 paragraph synopsis
  5. Word count and details on the progress of books 2 and 3 in the series. (this one’s for Kemla)
  6. Why i chose the agent and the agency – i pointed out three reasons why this agent in particular was the aim of this particular query.
  7. A one line ‘me’ bio – i’m not published so the bio was short and sweet.
  8. My first 5 pages
  9. My contact details again.

All i’d like to say is try your best at email queries no matter how informal your twittering is this is a business email and take your own notes – you will learn more and more as you go on.

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