Ok, here's the deal, you spend at between six months to five years writing a book.
And you want to get it published. How do you do that?
GET AN AGENT. How do you get an Agent?
Due to weird ass formatting issues you'll have to scroll to the bottom of the page,
to watch a cool video about it.
Ok, queries have a very specific format, three paragraph, one bio paragraph.
Here's a great example of what not to do, over at GotYA.
Sadly, I've known writers who have made most of these mistakes.
Don't ever send your form query out to 100 agents and wonder why you got rejected.
Here's another important fact-
ONCE YOU QUERY AN AGENT YOU CAN NOT QUERY THEM FOR THE SAME PROJECT.
No matter how much you change your query letter.
You get ONE shot with an agent, don't screw it up by spelling their name wrong.
Format of a query letter:
Nathan Bradford is pretty much the best resource out there for this topic.
Here is a fill in a blank format
Here is an example of a good query on Nathan's blog.
NOTE: he is representing the book as well.
Formatting the query.
Publishing Cred. What to list and what not to list.
See told you Nathan was a good resource.
Mary Kole talks about What to Query here.
I asked Mary Kole a few months ago when was the best time to query, see her response here.
Examples of Queries and why they are rejected by Janet Reed can be found here.
I will give you a warning, Janet's comments are harsh and if you are having a "woo is me, I totally suck and I should give up writing and breathing" sort of day, avoid this website.
Kathleen Ortiz gives you Query Etiquette and Part 2 is here.
She recently had a query with a 11,000 KB attachment!
It blocked up her e-mail for hours. Not cool.
HUGE TIP: Research the agent, what they like and what they don't like.
Here are a few places where you can learn all about agents.
For YA and Children's books this is a great resource.
Query letters are hard, yucky and tedious.
There's lots of way to screw up on it.
So if you spent years of your life working on a novel, why not spent some time on your query letter and make sure it's perfect.
My first book I sent out 24 queries, I got 5 requests for content.
I was rejected because the novel sucked.
But I wrote a pretty awesome query letter and I learned a lot from it.
There's TONS of resources out there, but that was a small sampling that I found to be useful.
Well Maureen Johnson does a pretty good job of explaining the process here,
and since she's a published author she knows what she's talking about.