The afternoon session was spent learning about queries in Queries with Claws: Compose a Query Letter that Grabs Attention with Andrea Somberg who is an agent with Harvey Klinger.
She spent the afternoon session first going over how to write a query letter (including good things to include) and spent the end of the session reading query letters that were brought in.
Here are some of the jewels she passed on to us:
- Your query letter needs to inform and intrigue who you are sending it to.
- Know submission guidelines and personalize your letter to the specification.
- Even if you have more than one both that you want to try and pitch, make a query letter unique to just one story. If you’re offered representation then that would be when you may want to mention other stories you have finished so they can help you plan for your future career.
- Always include the asked for sample pages. Query letters are hard and should show some of your voice but the sample pieces show your story’s voice and the way you write.
- Email is the best way to contact an agent – but do make sure that you look at the preferred form of contact from the agent’s website.
She went through query letter formatting as well, giving me a lot of information on where I need to go for my own query letters.
Really, though, the best part of this session (other than her jewels of wisdom) was the reading of the query letters.
As much as finding out how a query letter is beneficial, seeing her read and then tear apart the letters was amazing. For the most part she thought they were well written, but she was great at helping everyone make them even better. There were actually some awesome ideas pitched in those letters that I’d love to read.
Did I give my letter up to be torn into? I was in the queue to have it read, but we ended up running out of time. But that was okay, a lot of the suggestions I heard helped me with my own as well.
All in all, this session brought Thursday to a close an everything was amazing.