So you have written a story and you are excited to get it out into the world. For many writers their first stop is sending the work to a writing agent to try to get representation. The agent can then submit your work to publishers or producers. But do you have to write the letter yourself?

You can pay someone to write your query letter for you. Prices range from next to nothing all way up to $500. Websites like Fiverr are a good place to find freelancers, and you will also find individuals offering writing services on their professional websites.

Read on for some more tips about writing query letters and who knows, perhaps you won’t have to pay someone else at all.

How Much Does a Query Letter Cost?

What you pay for a query letter will depend on the expertise of the person writing it for you. You will be able to find freelancers who will charge as little as $10 USD, and some that will charge $500 USD. Price does not always reflect quality so make sure to read reviews carefully.

Are Short Query Letters Best?

Short query letters are not always best, but you should try to be concise. Be friendly and professional, let the agent know what you have written, what genre it is in, and why you think they are the perfect agent to represent this work. Let them know why you are the right person to write the work.

Should I Include my Work in Progress with my Query Letter? 

Agents and producers often won’t open an email that contains an unsolicited creative work in a query letter. This is because it opens them up to copyright lawsuits if they are working on another project that’s similar, or one of their clients is. It’s not a bad idea to identify in your email subject line exactly what the attachments are i.e. ‘Query letter containing synopsis and logline.’

What Should I Include with my Query Letter?

Your CV! Let them know who you are, your publication record, and positions you’ve held that might be relevant (are you a publisher yourself? Or an editor?). Consider including a paragraph explaining what makes you the perfect person to tell your story. Have you studied a law degree, which makes you particularly well suited to writing crime fiction? Did you major in modern history, making you the perfect person to write historical fiction? Let the person you are approaching know why this project particularly interests you! Did you major in human rights law? And does your project depict matters related to human rights? 

How do I position my Work in the Writing Market?

Consider mentioning what already produced works your project is similar to. Is your work a little bit like a title that the publisher has published in the past? Is that in fact the reason you are approaching this particular publisher first? Can you make an argument that this agent or publisher is the perfect person to take on the project? 

Can you point to works that are similar to yours that have had great financial success? Can you say that people who enjoyed a particular work may be particular interested in your writing? The goal is to help the agent or producer see exactly where your project might fit into the market, and the audience it might attract. 

How do I Convince an Agent with a Query Letter? 

Can you make a case that your story is urgently needed, and important viewing? Does it address themes and issues that are relevant at the moment? Why should people read your tale, and what will they miss out on if they don’t experience it? What has spurred you on to write this story, and why is it vitally important to you that it reaches an audience? 

Should I Include a Logline and Synopsis with my Query Letter?

Definitely include a one line logline with your query letter, that is less than 25 words, that tells the agent / producer / publisher about the central character, and the journey they are on. Consider including a one paragraph synopsis that addresses the main elements of your story, and also perhaps attach a one page synopsis that goes into the story a little more deeply.

Don’t be afraid to address the big themes of your work i.e. love, revenge, justice, brotherhood / sisterhood. These kinds of overarching themes can help someone to understand where the work will be positioned in the market. 

Can I Follow up with an Agent on a Query Letter?

Don’t follow up on your query letter more than once! As long as you are respectful, professional, and polite (and don’t follow up more than once) you can’t go too wrong. The idea is to try to make a good impression on an agent or producer. Remember that no impression at all is better than a bad impression. Good luck!


Oliver Adams

Letter Review was founded by Oliver Adams, who is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, casual academic, and guest lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Oliver Adams has had short stories published in leading literary journals such as Overland, Southerly, Seizure, and TEXT. He has had novels long listed for major awards such as the KYDUMA, has received government funding to produce plays from Create NSW and screenplays from Screen NSW, and has performed / produced professional work at major theatrical venues such as the Sydney Opera House.

1 Comment

How to Turn Creative Writing Rejection into a Win Every Time! | Writing Journal · 19/04/2021 at 9:22 am

[…] Check out how to write a query letter here. […]

Comments are closed.