Book Query Letters

While article marketing is a great way to get your name out there, a book is even more effective. According to Jeffery Lant, marketing consultant, “a book is a brochure that will never be thrown away.” Of course, your book query letter is no place for self promotion. You want to let potential publishers know right away what you can do for them: namely sell books.

You have two options when sending your book query letter: send it to a literary agent or directly to a publisher. It is recommended that you attempt to secure the services of a literary agent first as many book publishers no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts.  

Format: typed via typewriter or word processor on letterhead


Starting to Write


Let the recipient know how you obtained their name and contact information.


State the title and genre of your book.


Briefly describe your book’s contents. Also explain who your book is for and how it can help them.


State your qualifications.


Make it clear that you are willing to send a more thorough outline of your book and sample chapters at your own expense.

Sample Letters

Book Query Letter Sample

Mr. Jim Harris

Mark One Literary Agency

Dear Mr. Harris,

It has come to my attention that you represented Stanly Gleason with his debut work, In Darkness. I would be honored if you would consider reviewing my proposal for a horror novel. I have co-written three horror screenplays that have all been optioned.

Over the last three years I have shifted my focus into writing novels and short stories, and have recently completed three sample chapters of my debut work, Brittle Bones. I have extensive experience crafting horrifying tales, and my literary work thus far has been well-received. May I send you my complete proposal for Brittle Bones? I have enclosed a self-addressed envelope for your convenience. Thank you for time and consideration.


Stan Wood

Never address your letter “dear agent.” If you don’t have the agent’s name, wait until you do.
Always convey familiarity with the genre and prominent works within it.
List the attributes that makes your work stand out from the pack.
List any relevant work or industry experience that qualifies you to write the book.
Keep it short and stay on topic.
Useful Stock Phrases:

I would like to send you a more detailed proposal…
I am one of only a handful of people who could write this book because…
This book would be ready by…
The experience and knowledge that I can provide to this project are.