QUERY BASICS: Part III

A 3-part series by the agents at Andrea Hurst Literary Management

Closing Your Query

Like a fine wine, a successful query needs to finish well.

Once you’ve told us

  1. What your book is
  2. Who you are,

It’s important that you close your query by letting the agent know you are ready to send your materials however he/she prefers—without sounding too pushy.

Examples of over-pushiness:

“I know this is going to be an instant bestseller and I want to thank you in advance for deciding to work with me” or “Since I had such a good hunch that you’d want to see my work, I’ve already mailed you the entire manuscript. It should arrive on your doorstep any day!” These cringe worthy assumptions are enough to make even the most seasoned agent shudder.

Things to remember when closing your query:

  1. If it’s a non-fiction project, indicate that you have a full book proposal ready to send according to the agent’s specifications
  2. If it’s fiction, indicate that the full manuscript is completed and that you can send any portion of it that the agent requests. Nothing is more frustrating to an agent than eagerly combing the query for a fantastic-sounding project, only to hear that the author has only actually completed the first 10 pages.
  3. If you have an important point that you weren’t able to work into your query’s beginning or middle, like you were a Fulbright Scholar, or that you won first prize in a prestigious fiction contest, add it to the end of the query.**Note that including a list of accomplishments not particularly pertinent to your written work will not be considered a plus (i.e., “I was a runner up in this year’s Strawberry Beauty Pageant”).
  4. Close with a polite, yet confident line, something like

“Please let me know if I may send you a full proposal/partial or full manuscript.

Regards,

Joan Smith”

Your query can be the all-important gatekeeper that transforms your manuscript into your published book. Following these Query Basics could gain you just the edge you need to get your manuscript or project noticed.

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