Query Letters

Published March 5, 2010 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Today some of the girls in my sub care group on eHarlequin asked what my secret is and do I have any tips on Query writing.  The truth is, they’re really nothing special.  I’ll post a copy of one here.  It’s basically the same as what I’ve sent out all year without getting the slightest nibble, but now it’s working for me.  Go figure! 

When writing a query letter I feel it’s important to make sure you proofread, two or three times after Word finishes with it.  Print it out if you have to but make sure everything is spelled correctly and your grammar and punctuation are faultless.

Introduce yourself briefly and let them get a feel for who you are.

Do your homework!  Research the Publisher and the line you are aiming for. 

Include a brief yet complete outline of your novel.

Write up any other info.  ie:  wip, sequels

Include any previous publishing history.

Remember to thank them for their time and include your contact info.


Here’s an example.  It’s one I sent to Wild Rose Press last week.  Hopefully, after my preaching on the topic, you won’t find any mistakes.  LOL

Dear Editorial Staff:
Reading and writing have always been of prime importance in my life and now my children have grown, I’ve had time this past year to indulge my passions.  Zakia & the Cowboy is the first book in a series that takes place on the Triple D Ranch.  This romantic suspense is 57000 words and suited to your Crimson Rose Line of ebooks.
   Zakia Fielding is a beautiful, wealthy socialite from the city.  Lucas Manning is a country boy full of testosterone and charm.  They meet, fall in love and marry but their marriage failed within the first year. 
   Our story picks up years later when Zakia is being pursued by a stalker and runs to Luke, her first and only love, for protection, for herself and their five-year-old twin boys. 
   He is understandably furious at not knowing of their existence and only agrees to help protect her because she is the mother of his sons.  They form a viable truce, working together to care for their children as they try to determine who the stalker is. 
   When danger shows up on the ranch, Luke realizes he is still in love with Zakia and would die to keep her and the boys safe. Plans for protection are in place but she is abducted during the fall round-up.  Luke follows the trail to its end, rescuing her from a crazed former employee/suitor and they finally get their chance at a happily ever after. 
This was a fun book to research and write and I’ve enjoyed reading Zakia and Luke’s story straight through during the editing process.  There’s plenty of emotion, tension and romance intricately woven together and I hope you are interested in reading it in its entirety.  
Zakia and Luke’s friends, Samantha (ex-military) and Blake (RCMP), are on site and willing to put their lives on the line for their friends, but a new romance is budding in their midst as well.  Their story is currently a wip and is entitled Covert Mission: Sudden Love.  Each story stands alone but is intricately connected through time spent on the Triple D Ranch.
My publishing history includes children’s literature and posters, plus a couple of poems.  In grade six I also won an IODE award for essay writing.  At fourteen a poem I wrote about WWII was published in the Legion magazine.
Thank you for your time and attention.  I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Lorraine Nelson

So there it is!  Since this is an email inquiry, all they need to do is hit reply so I didn’t bother including my phone number.  Don’t want to be jumping for nothing every time the phone rings.

Hope this helps.  Happy writing and good luck with those submissions.



4 comments on “Query Letters

  • Hi Lorraine,
    Thanks for posting this for us! I can see why they wanted more, I know I do! I love the subtle mention of the research involved, and think it was a really good, to the point query. I will using it as a model for sure!

    Christine (rcbell from Subcare)

  • I really enjoyed reading this query as well Lorraine. There is so much to learn about this business and it is marvelous that you are willing to share your experience with us!!!

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