Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hollywood Schmooze - Writing a Query Letter

This month's schmooze was on Query Letter writing, but we also had a few people reading their first pages. We are meeting in the Fairfax Branch of the LA Public Library and it is a great big room! We seeing new faces from the neighborhood, which is wonderful.

Some of the questions members had on writing query letters:
1)  How long should a query be?
A page or so. Like with resumes, use an additional page wisely. Will someone keep reading? Maybe if you are listing all your writing credits.
2) Tone is important -- mirror the tone in your book.
3) Check for typos.
Then double and triple check. Then have someone else read it twice.
Many agents have said that if they stumble on a typo, they immediately delete the query. Yikes!
4) Personalize -- what makes this editor or agent appeal to you? Why did you pick him or her?
5) Do not grovel -- but be friendly. You are on an equal footing. You are a writer! Be proud. You have written a book. Remember, without you, they are out of work.
6) Be succinct -- cut out any unnecessary sentences. Be brief and to the point and engaging in your story summary. Pull the reader in, but do not reveal the ending of your story. Introduce the main character, the set up, the conflict and, possibly the theme, and then get out.
7) Send out queries in batches of fives -- keep track of and incorporate any changes.
8) Do not give up...all you need is one agent or editor to love your work and believe in it enough to see it through to the printed (or electronic) page!
The next meeting of the SCBWI Hollywood Schmooze is on May 14th.
Time: 6:30-8:00pm
Location: the Fairfax Branch of LAPL
161 South Gardner Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Topic: Critique - bring your first 5 pages for peer review.
RSVP to Jean or Deborah at
We look  forward to seeing you at a Hollywood Schmooze!