Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Query 101 with agent Mandy Hubbard

This blog is from D4EO agent Mandy Hubbard’s Query 101 talk from the spring 2012 Whidbey Island Writer’s Conference. If you missed my interview with her from last week click here. Using her own personal experiences she gives writers the do’s and don’ts of a query letter.

First- What is a query letter? “It is a one page tool to getting the attention of an agent. It is a tease to intrigue,” says Mandy.


1. Do not dump everything about the story into your query.
2. Do not treat your query like a cheesy sales pitch.
3. Do not tell the agent what they should think about your book.
4. Do not start your query with a rhetorical question.
5. Do not use super clichéd phrases.
6. Do not use dull character descriptions.
7. Do not compare your book to blockbuster titles. Use modest successes.
8. Do not say your book is a guaranteed best seller.
9. Do not say, “I read it to my school class and they loved it.”
10. Do not quote other author’s or editor’s opinions about your book. It makes the agent wonder, “Why didn’t they publish it then?”
11. Do not bash other books in your genre.
12. Do not start your query with “Dear Agent” or as a cc’d.
13. Do not say, “This is my first book.”
14. Do not say, “I recently completed …” An agent wants a book that’s been worked on, not recently finished.
15. Do not be vague about your conflict.


1. Tell the genre right off the bat.
2. Tell why you are querying that particular person. Use their name.
3. Mention the characters and overall conflict.
4. Make your pitch only 3-4 paragraphs.
5. Put information about your twitter, FB or blog at the bottom.
6. If you don’t have a bio, skip it. Or be simple, yet quirky.

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