How To Send A Query Letter By Email

When it comes to querying literary agents, publishers, or magazines, email has become the most common form of communication. However, sending a query letter by email can be tricky, as you want to make sure that your message is professional, engaging, and effective. In this article, we will go over the steps to write and send a query letter by email, along with some best practices to help you get noticed and increase your chances of success.

Research Your Target

Before you start writing your query letter, it’s important to research your target thoroughly. This includes finding out the agent or publisher’s submission guidelines, their preferred genres or categories, and any specific requirements they have for query letters. You can usually find this information on their website or by checking out their social media profiles. It’s also a good idea to research their previous clients or publications to get a sense of what they are looking for and what they specialize in.

Craft a Compelling Subject Line

The subject line of your email is the first thing the recipient will see, so it’s important to make it attention-grabbing and relevant. Use a short, clear, and descriptive subject line that sums up your project or proposal, and entices the reader to open your email. Avoid using generic or vague subject lines such as “Query” or “Submission,” as they may get lost in the recipient’s inbox.

Use a Professional Email Address

When sending a query letter by email, it’s important to use a professional email address that reflects your name or your brand. Avoid using personal or inappropriate email addresses, such as “[email protected]” or “[email protected].” Stick to a simple and straightforward format, such as “[email protected]” or “[email protected].”

Address the Recipient Correctly

Make sure you address the recipient of your email correctly, using their name and title if possible. Avoid using generic greetings such as “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam,” as they can come across as impersonal and unprofessional. If you can’t find the recipient’s name, try to use a more specific greeting such as “Dear Acquisitions Editor” or “Dear Literary Agent.”

Start with a Hook

Your query letter should start with a strong hook that grabs the reader’s attention and entices them to keep reading. This could be a brief summary of your project, a compelling question, or a surprising fact or statistic related to your topic. Make sure your hook is relevant to the recipient’s interests and aligns with their submission guidelines.

Introduce Yourself and Your Project

In the next paragraph, introduce yourself briefly and explain what your project or proposal is about. Keep your introduction concise and to the point, highlighting the key elements of your project and why it’s unique or compelling. Make sure you show your enthusiasm and passion for your project, and avoid using overly formal or technical language.

Provide Details and Supporting Materials

In the following paragraphs, provide more details about your project, including its genre, length, target audience, and any relevant credentials or previous publications. Use concrete and specific examples to illustrate your point and showcase your writing skills. You can also include a brief synopsis or sample chapters of your work, if the recipient allows it. Make sure you follow their submission guidelines carefully and provide any supporting materials in the format they request.

Close with a Call to Action

In the final paragraph of your query letter, close with a call to action that encourages the recipient to take the next step. This could be a request for a full manuscript, a meeting or phone call, or simply a confirmation that they received your query. Make sure you express your gratitude and appreciation for their time and consideration, and provide your contact information and any relevant links or social media profiles they can use to learn more about you and your work.

Edit and Proofread Carefully

Before you hit the send button, make sure you edit and proofread your query letter carefully. Check for any spelling or grammar errors, and make sure your tone is professional and engaging. It’s also a good idea to read your query letter out loud or have someone else read it for you, to make sure it flows well and makes sense.

Follow Up Appropriately

After you’ve sent your query letter, it’s important to follow up appropriately, depending on the recipient’s submission guidelines. Some agents or publishers may respond within a few days or weeks, while others may take several months to get back to you. If you haven’t heard back within their specified timeframe, you can send a polite follow-up email to inquire about the status of your query. However, make sure you don’t come across as pushy or demanding, and always be respectful of their time and decision-making process.


In conclusion, sending a query letter by email can be a daunting task, but by following these steps and best practices, you can increase your chances of success and get noticed by the right people in the publishing industry. Remember to research your target thoroughly, craft a compelling subject line, use a professional email address, address the recipient correctly, start with a hook, introduce yourself and your project, provide details and supporting materials, close with a call to action, edit and proofread carefully, and follow up appropriately. Good luck with your queries!

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