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How to write a query letter

What does a successful query letter look like? 

You only get one chance at a first impression. This newsletter spotlights practical tips, examples and templates you can use when writing your agent submission query letter.  

BURSARY: We’re giving away 10 annual memberships! 

To celebrate all the exciting new stuff going on at Jericho Writers, we’re giving 10 under-represented writers a free membership for a year. To enter, simply send an email to info@jerichowriters.com with the subject line ‘MEMBERSHIP BURSARY ENTRY’ by 24 September and tell us why you want to join Jericho Writers in 50 words. 



SNAPSHOT: How to write an agent query letter (FREE for members) 

Learn exactly what an agent wants to see from a query letter by listening to an agent herself in this five-minute tip video from Laura Williams at Greene & Heaton. 



BLOG: Advice on your query letter + a template 

Query letters don’t need to be fancy. This blog explains everything from tone to sign-off, with a handy template you can fill in with your own details.  


WEBINAR: Slushpile LIVE with Sam Copeland (FREE for members) 

22 September 2020. Put your query letter to the test with one of the biggest agents in the UK.  Submit yours before the end of the day for the chance to have your work featured in this live webinar. 



Join the community 

Get feedback on your work, share the challenges and joys of the writing journey and chat to like-minded authors on our friendly and free community. 


How NOT to write a query letter 

Are you making any of these most common mistakes in your query letter?  

Dear Sirs [NEVER address an email this way, especially to a female agent.] 

Firstly, I wish to describe to you the way in which I was birthed. ‘Twas 1959... [Query letters should start with a short snappy sentence on your BOOK.]  

Please read the following 1500 word pitch... [Keep your pitch to two paragraphs!] 

This book is the next Harry Potter. [Don’t use big books like this as a comparison title – show you know the current market in your genre.] It will be loved by ages 1 – 100. [This may be true, but unfortunately that is not a market publishers can sell into.] 

I have never written anything before and probably don’t know what I am doing. [Even if you feel this is true, don’t say it in a query letter. Instead, talk about how you might have attended courses or are a member of Jericho Writers.]  

I don’t like any of the other books you have on your list, but you seem okay I guess. [You’ll be working with this agent for a while (hopefully!) Keep on their good side and don’t ever be rude.]  

Laters, [A bit of informal chat is nice in the latter half of your letter, but keep the overall tone professional.]  

Do you think this might be the worst query letter of all time? Think you have written worse? Join for free and share your query letter nightmares in the Townhouse here. 

Sarah J 

Plus, don’t miss: 

New Mentor added: Michael Braff (Discounts available for members) 

Say ‘hello’ to our new mentor, Michael Braff, who has worked as a fiction editor in the US with the likes of Penguin for dozens of years. Michael wants to see your sci-fi, fantasy and horror and can work alongside you as you write or edit your book.  

Agent Submission Pack Review (Discounts available for members) 

Our experts will review your query letter, synopsis and opening 10,000 words – perfect for anyone who needs actionable feedback on their agent pitch. 

New programme of events for members (FREE for members) 

Join authors such as Catherine Johnson, agents such as Sam Copeland and editors such as Debi Alper for five webinars every month between now and the end of the year, exclusively for members. 


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Why hate poetry?
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  •  · Miriam
Poetry’s the marmite of literature. A divisive subject with one side of the scale, I unhappily admit, heavily tipped. I think it’s safe to say that most people hate poetry, an awful thing to hear if like me, you love it.   Why all the hate?  Maybe because poetry’s seen as moth-eaten and archaic, to be shelved alongside cobblestone heavy history books. A sloth-like slow drag lacking in thrill and pace. Or maybe, it’s because people think poetry equates effort. A poem is evidence of someone having made an effort to try and be clever. To unashamedly try to make something beautiful. It follows then that reading a poem can make you feel closed off, feel dumb when you don’t understand, even after