The Art of Query Letter Writing: A How-To Guide for Drafting the Best Query Letter

The Art of Query Letter Writing: A How-To Guide for Drafting the Best Query Letter

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  • You are a writer who knows nothing about the querying process. Beginners are welcome!
  • You are a writer who is actively querying
  • You are a writer who is thinking about representation, but has yet to begin the process
  • You are a writer who has queried in the past, but to mixed results


Most literary agents comb their query accounts to find their next author for representation. The query letter is your book's only opportunity to make an incredible first impression. The best query letters are clear, concise, engaging, and well-organized. This presentation is a how-to guide on drafting the perfect query letter.

In breaking down the query letter, Melissa Edwards focuses on such topics as length, organization, the perfect pitch, and bio. This presentation attempts to address anything you've ever wondered about the query process, but were afraid to ask.

Melissa Edwards is both a Literary Agent and the Foreign Rights Manager at the Aaron Priest Literary Agency, a legacy agency doing business for over 40 years. She is an attorney by education and draws on her legal background in representing her clients.


  • How to organize a query letter
  • How to address a literary agent in the query
  • The appropriate tone for a query
  • The appropriate length for a query
  • How to pitch in a query
  • How to include your background/ bio in a query
  • How to edit your query if you're not getting results


Melissa L. Edwards is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and Vanderbilt Law School. She is a member in good standing of the New York State bar. While Melissa began her career as a commercial litigation attorney, she always maintained aspirations to work in publishing. At present, Melissa handles foreign rights for Aaron Priest and she is actively developing her own list.

Melissa's taste ranges in genre from classic Victorian literature to hard-boiled crime dramas. She is interested in reading international thrillers with likeable and arresting protagonists, light-hearted women's fiction and YA, female-driven (possibly small-town) suspense, and completely immersive fantasy. Ultimately, Melissa is looking for a book that will keep her glued to the couch all day and night, and continue to occupy her thoughts for weeks later.

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