What’s the Secret to a Great Query Letter?

Query letters!

We all have to write them (yes, even agents) and they’re SO important. What’s the secret?

It’s understanding this most important point:

The purpose of a query is get someone to want to read your manuscript. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not to explain your whole book or tell your whole story. It’s to get someone to request to see more.

Your job is not just to tell about your book, but to tell about it in a way that makes me eager to read it!

You want to tell enough of the book to get me interested, but not so much that it gets convoluted or confusing or bogged down in detail. This is important — a couple of sentences is often not enough to convey the uniqueness, urgency or appeal of your book.

With your query, you’re switching from writer/artist to businessperson & marketer. SELL that book!

If you have critique partners, it’s a great idea to workshop your query with them.

To learn more and to learn how to query me, click on Submissions.

Happy querying!


If you should decide to invest in some personalized counsel, I offer coaching for unpublished authors here: My Coaching Services


Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Mary A. Felkins on December 16, 2020 at 2:57 PM

    Ah, finally. A succinct explanation of the essence and point of a query letter…
    “With your query, you’re switching from writer/artist to businessperson & marketer.”

    Thanks, Rachelle!