Critique Series: Query Letter Intensive
ABOUT THE WEBINAR
Despite being one of the most discussed topics in the writing community, the query letter remains a frustrating part of the submission process. How can a writer best boil down their 80,000-word manuscript (or in some cases, their 180,000-word manuscript) down to 300 words? Would it just be better if writers showed up at agency offices with cookies as gifts? (Unfortunately, the answer is no.)
It takes writers months or years to compose a manuscript (or book proposal), yet agents will judge your query in 60 seconds—so your letter has to be clear, exciting, and concise.
In this webinar, instructor Michelle Wolfson, a literary agent who represents both fiction and nonfiction bestsellers, will share her tips on writing the kind of query letter that will maximize your chances of getting an agent’s attention. She will also share her suggestions for how best to manage the query process—which, after all, is similar to what agents do in submitting manuscripts to editors to make a sale. Along with her evergreen advice on composing a dynamite query, Michelle will use examples from real queries to show how-to and how-not-to go about your quest for the coveted “requested pages.” Michelle has found many clients, including New York Times bestselling authors, in the slush pile; let her teach you how you, too, can stand out from the crowd.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN (QUESTIONS THAT WILL BE ANSWERED):
- What is the purpose of a query letter?
- What are the elements of a query letter?
- What should I do if my query letter isn’t working?
- What should I mention about my writing and myself?
- How long is the pitch?
- Should my query give away the ending?
- How much does my writer platform matter?
- How should I go about querying agents when I start the process?
- Is there a preferred font or format that should be used?
- (And sample queries that worked, and some that didn’t—with analysis)
Michelle Wolfson is a literary agent and founded Wolfson Literary Agency in December 2007. She represents authors of high-quality commercial fiction and nonfiction, in a range of areas from young adult and mainstream to mysteries and romance. She is drawn to projects with a standout voice and strong interesting characters. Michelle holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from New York University. Before founding her own agency, she spent four years at other literary agencies and several years working outside of publishing, first in nonprofit and then in finance, and she brings the skills she learned in these areas, plus a lifetime love of reading, to the table as an agent. Her clients include New York Times bestsellers Kiersten White and Mark Di Vincenzo, both of whom she found through cold queries in the slush pile.
WHO SHOULD LISTEN?
- Writers currently querying their book-length project
- Writers who are getting rejections and want to learn why they’re hitting a wall
- Writers getting close to querying a novel
- Writers who have a query letter and want a professional critique by a literary agent
- Anyone with query-related questions who want their specific concerns addressed