Hi Chelsea, how long should the query letter be and what should I include in it? Kind regards, Patrick Crumlish
This is a great question. A query letter should be no more than one page when pasted into a Word document and set in 12-point Times New Roman font–and the tighter you can get it, the better. I like to see an elevator pitch in a sentence or two that tells me the genre and age category as well as a quick logline about the story. If you look at the copy on Amazon and B&N.com you will often see these kinds of quick elevator pitches at the top of the descriptive copy. This can also be a moment when you include comp titles by saying “perfect for readers who love” or “think X meets Y.” There should also be a brief description that is 2-3 paragraphs max, this should feel like cover copy, though if there’s a massive twist, a POV shift, or something else interesting about the structure that I can’t know from the 10-page sample, be clear about that in your descriptive copy. Then a quick bio that is a few sentences about yourself, focusing on your writing career and attempting to answer the question why you’re the perfect person to write this book.
Ultimately, the sample pages are what sells me on a story. So put your best foot forward with your query letter, but know that it’s your stand-out writing that will make the real difference.