Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Query This

There's been quite a bit of discussion on a couple of agent blogs recently about whether it's okay to have someone else write your query letter. (You can check it out here.)

I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand...
1. How could someone else possibly pitch a book if they haven't read it?
2. What if the editor/agent on the receiving end passes? Will the novel author blame the query author?
3. We're all told that your query letter should represent your voice and the character of your novel. How can that happen if someone else writes your letter?

And the other hand...
1. A successful query letter requires a completely different kind of writing from that used in novels. If you know someone who excels at this, wouldn't it be smart on your part to elist their aid?
2. The editor/agent does not want to buy a query letter; he/she wants to buy a book. So why should it matter if someone different wrote the query?

As with most things, I'm going to slide right down the middle on this. I think it's important to write my own query letters. But if I knew someone who was a query-letter-writing genius, I'd be a fool not to tap into that resource.



Carla Swafford said...

I agree with you, JoAnn. The author should write it, but there's no problem having help, especially from critique partners. :-)

BTW, one of BookEnds' agents is showing copies of original query letters that helped authors get representation. You can check it out at

Karen Beeching said...

Such good timing, JoAnn. I'm writing a query letter this week. Sigh. Don't you just love those?

I do think the author should write their own query letter, but I agree with Carla, it doesn't hurt to get feedback and help.