Here’s a common question about query letter formatting. From reader Lyla:
I have a question on formatting a query letter. Many of the agents whose blogs I subscribe to have mentioned that they prefer the ‘hook’ first and then personalization later on in the query, while as many have said that they prefer the personalization first. I’m assuming this is just a preference thing, so I was just wondering, Ms. Kole, which do YOU prefer?
As I have said before, there is a lot of undue anxiety about formatting a query letter, and even more undue anxiety about queries in general. As long as you have all the elements of a query letter — query meat, bio, query personalization, vital statistics (word count, whether or not it’s a simultaneous submission, contact info, etc.) — you’re fine to arrange them in whatever way you want. If you need some guidance on query basics, check out my post on how to write a query letter.
Common Types of Query Letter Formatting
Query meat, personalization, bio, stats
Personalization, query meat, bio, stats
The query letter formatting that I prefer is completely a matter of personal taste. I’ve seen both of the above. I’ve seen queries that lead with the bio. I’ve seen queries that lead with the stats (though this is probably the most rare). I’ve seen queries that follow no logic that I can possibly comprehend. I’d say that you should stick with one of the above and you’ll be just fine. There are as many ways of formatting a query letter as there are agents…and writers.
Feeling unsure about your query letter format, synopsis, or manuscript? Hire me as your freelance editor and we can work on your submission materials or dig deeper into your picture book, novel, or non-fiction proposal together.