Thursday, August 22, 2013

Query Letter Hell

Query Letter Hell



We all know it exists. We all know it burns, and makes us crazy, and makes us cry. That damn query letter. Gah!

I wrote several of them before I snagged an agent. It took a lot (read: A LOT) of tries to get one that worked. I had a slight overlap in querying two books at once. That was fun for the old nervous system. Heh. 

Luckily, I have a great critique partner group, and we help each other out with silly things like query letters. The consensus was/is, that your query has to provide enough relevant information and HOOK to make an agent hit the 'I Want You Button.' No easy feat, I know. 

My advice, is to polish your query letter and then write it again. Then, write it again. Have 2-3 versions so if one isn't working, you can try the next and so on. Get advice from other writers. Don't get advice from  your mom, unless she's an author, too. You need writerly eyes on your query. And while I'm not the Queen of writing advice, I do get asked to share my successful query, so I will. 

Originally titled, WHISKEY NOVEMBER, my contemporary romance snagged ten full requests in a week and at the end, two agent offers. IT WAS LUCK, mostly. Maybe the query helped a little bit. 

This book went on to be signed in a 3-book deal with Entangled Publishing, and WHISKEY NOVEMBER, is now TEMPTING THE COWBOY and releases October, 2013. 

Sorry for being crude. Well,, I'm not. They're cowboys. Come on. 


Dear Superagent (No, really, put an agent's real name here) :) 

Breathe, rest, awaken aren’t just three little words. They are the mantra of emotional healing for a mother after the death of her child. When ex-cop Rylan Fredrickson answered an ad for a housekeeper at the sprawling Montana dude ranch, Paint River, she expected hard work and long hours would help ease the pain from the death of her daughter and husband. Getting stranded in a nowhere town on the way to the ranch with sexy, albeit drunk, cowboy Cole Haywood wasn’t in the plan. When Cole turns out to be her new employer and the single dad of a four-year old, Rylan is unwittingly thrust into a maternal role that acts like sandpaper to her still raw heart.

Cole has secrets of his own to keep. He’s had his share of conniving women and letting a stranger into his life is the last thing he wants. But as life at Paint River starts to unravel and family secrets come to the surface, he has little choice. When his attraction to Rylan grows, he must decide if he’s willing to help her overcome the agony of her past while healing deep wounds of his own. As the Montana landscape creeps into Rylan's soul along with Cole’s promising touch, she is faced with the first real possibility of healing, if she’s not too afraid to grab it.

WHISKEY NOVEMBER is a contemporary romance at 60,000 words with an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ feel, and has series potential. WHISKEY NOVEMBER has the emotional depth and steamy heat level comparable to I ADDED COMPARABLES HERE. My adult urban fantasy, BLOOD OF ISIS, will be released by Etopia press in spring 2013. Please note this is a simultaneous submission.


Elizabeth Otto

So, there you have it. Nice and tidy and effective.

Need help with your query? Leave a comment and I'll see if I can help!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I have a query letter drafted at the moment. It's my first one and I don't know anyone savvy enough to give a concise critique. Could you help me out?