The Kinds of Queries that Work, from Query Shark

In the querying trenches? Maybe the query formulas you’ve tried don’t seem to work for *your story.* In this post from the archives, I’ve taken winning queries from Query Shark and sorted them by types. Which one seems to fit your story best?

Lara Willard

querylara

Two queries on Query Shark I recommend every querying writer to read. They are #246 and #179.

From 246:

This works.

The first sentence catches my attention. The rest of the letter tells me who the main character is, what her problem is, who the antagonist is and what he wants, and what’s at stake.

If I took on YA novels, I’d ask for pages.

From 179:

Yes! This is exactly how to start a query. We know what Jessica wants, and who is trying to thwart her. 

At this point we know the characters, what they want, and have a sense of who they are. There’s nothing extra here, but also nothing left out.

If you take a look at all of the winning queries on Query Shark, they aren’t all the same. Because there is no formula for writing good query letters.

But there are…

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