The Art of the Query: Winning an Agent from the Very First Page

The Art of the Query: Winning an Agent from the Very First Page

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  • You're currently composing a query and want to make sure your work gets read
  • You've been rejected by agents and editors, and want to evaluate why your query didn't make the cut
  • You're unsure about how to craft a query


Your query letter is your introduction, your handshake, your first date. In order to get an agent to fall in love with your writing, you first must get them to fall in love with your query. It's only one page, but it's your most important page. What makes some queries successful, while others immediately get a rejection?

In this presentation, instructor and literary agent, Michelle Brower, shows you how agents go through their slush pile and how they make decisions based on query letters. The presentation covers query dos and don'ts, and also has examples of successful letters that have made the cut. Michelle shows you how to win over an agent, as well as identify common pitfalls.

Runtime: 105 minutes


  • How to start your query
  • Why an agent could stop reading after your first sentence
  • Common mistakes that writers make
  • How to distill your book idea into an elevator pitch
  • How to make sure you keep an agent's interest
  • How to highlight your hook
  • How simple and direct can often be the best way to go


Michelle Brower began her career in publishing in 2004 while studying for her Master's degree in English Literature at New York University, and has been hooked ever since. During that time, she assisted the agents Wendy Sherman and Joelle Delbourgo, and found herself in love with the process of discovering new writers and helping existing writers further their careers. After graduating, she became an agent with Wendy Sherman Associates, and there began representing books in many different areas of fiction and non-fiction. In 2009, she joined Folio Literary Management, where she is looking for literary fiction, thrillers, high-quality commercial fiction that transcends genre, and narrative non-fiction. She enjoys digging into a manuscript and working with authors to make their project as saleable as it can be, and her list includes the authors Dana Gynther, Rebecca Rasmussen, Jason Mott, and Tara Conklin among many others.

NOTE: Writer's Digest does not offer refunds for OnDemand Webinars. All sales are final. OnDemand Webinars do NOT include a critique.

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