A query letter is to generate requests!
What you need in your query letter:
- Hook. Sum up your novel in one sentence.
- Setup. A few details about the main character, world-building and catalyst.
- Conflict. What does the MC want?
- Consequence. What will happen if the MC doesn't overcome the conflict?
This is what my query looks like after Elana's awesomesauce class with notes in () from said class:
I read your blog and noticed you are interested in Young Adult Science Fiction (add personal touch as this shows you did your research). FROZEN (title always in caps) is a 55,000 word count novel about a small-town girl who discovers other-worldly visitors living in her midst.
Seventeen-year-old Mandy McAllister is assigned to write about missing youth for the school paper. As she digs deeper into the strange disappearances, she discovers her town is full of secrets, lies--and aliens (this last sentence is the hook. It sums up the novel in one sentence.).
Mandy learns that her mother is an alien impostor and her father--the Mayor--has been covering it up for years. Mandy gathers her courage and goes in search of her biological mother and the missing youth, only to find herself the next victim of alien abduction. (This paragraph is the setup).
On a spaceship full of frozen boys, she breaks free of her alien mother's mind control and initiates a plan of escape (this is the conflict). But can't do it alone. She finds her boyfriend on the ship, but is he one of the abducted? Or on of the aliens? She'll have to learn who she can trust and who she can't if she wants to get off the ship and saev those who've gone missing before her (this is the consequence).
I am member of League of Utah Writers, Utah Children's Writers and I sit on my local library board.
The complete manuscript is available upon request (assume they want it!).
Thank you for your time and consideration.
A few more notes:
- If you're stuck on your query, trying writing it in your MC's voice to break down the barrier.
- Most of your query should cover the first 30-50 pages.
- Write the query when you're about 10-15,000 words into your story. It will help shape your story.
- Business format letter: Two hard returns; no indenting.