by Raelene Gorlinsky
EC does not need or want query letters - just read our submission guidelines, send us a cover email with sample chapters. However, a query letter is the way to approach most agents and many publishing houses. (Always check their website to see what is required.) So if you are struggling with the task of writing that query, let me point you to an excellent - and highly entertaining - resource, agent Janet Reid's Query Shark blog.
She dissects letters, explains what works and what doesn't. And she is very blunt, which is what is needed! Here's her analysis of part of a query letter, it's the same thing I've told writers many times.
Letter: I have become irrevocably attached to Jeromy and his heroic tale; I know that many readers will feel the same way, and I hope you will give him a glance and find out whether he is able to break your heart and put it back together.
Janet's Critique: This is a HUGE warning sign in a query. What you think it means is you're passionate about your work. What I think it means is you're the kind of writer who is more likely to take rejection personally, not be able to handle revisions with objectivity and be a total pain in the ass.
But mostly I read this blog for the entertainment value. Whether you are an author or not, writing a query letter or not, you must read the query letter from The Lord, pitching his book THE BIBLE, a 775,000-word historical fiction/religious memoir.