All the hard work authors put into their novels will be for naught (except, of course, for the joy the experience brought the author) if they cannot interest a publisher in it. And in this day and age, few publishers will so much as glance at an un-agented submission. The query letter is the primary vehicle for attracting an agent, so it’s important to spend time with it, to put your work forward in the best light you can.
Generally, agents want to know a little about you, get a pretty good sense of the work you’re asking them to represent, and be informed of any publications, contest wins, etc. And most want no more than a one page query. Some agents will request a brief synopsis and possibly a few pages up to usually no more than three chapters to be attached or pasted to the query letter. I recently queried an agent whom I’m excited to say I signed with to represent my time-travel romance, Flirting With Destiny. I will be writing more on my journey with this wonderful agent and this book in later posts, but here I wanted to mention the Query Tracker method she uses, and which I wouldn’t be surprised if many other agents turn to. Query Tracker is an automated system by which the agent can track all of his/her incoming queries and activities related to them. The author enters information into the system. The information requested can be more time consuming for the author than the standard query letter, and some authors may tend to avoid it, but I found that it’s information I should know and be able to relay about my book anyway. I’m curious if others have queried through Query Tracker and what they thought of it. I also wonder if it has the desired benefit for agents. It’ll be interesting to see if it really catches on.