Home Uncategorized 5 Common Query Letter Mistakes Made by Fiction Authors

5 Common Query Letter Mistakes Made by Fiction Authors


Planning on closing a book deal with a great publisher? If yes, then you need to make sure that you have the best agent in town to do the job for you.

But how to get the best agent for the work? Even if you’re not hiring ghostwriting services, you can still ace this task!

There are plenty of agents in the market that can help you with the process, but you need the best one. Now, the important part is to write a query letter to the agent to convince them to help you publish your book. All literary agents receive plenty of queries throughout the year, so to make yourself stand out among all of them is the key to getting the best agent for yourself.

To make sure that your letter grabs the agent’s attention, you must fulfill the basic criteria, i.e. not make any basic mistakes. Here are some of the common mistakes that people make while writing query letters.

Your Tone is Dull and Boring

A query letter is an email, not a book that you’re writing to the agent. Writing an email is completely different from showing your portfolio, so you need to back off a little on the creativity part. Do not show your skills as a fiction writer in your query email and make sure that you are talking to the point.

Not getting too formal or informal is the key to gaining the agent’s attention. Do not add exclamation marks, profanity, or other informal errors that can make the agent lose interest in your email. Try to keep it neutral without appearing edgy or hip in your email. The agent will not read your email for long if it’s not interesting, so make sure that you are choosing the right words.

Long Synopsis

An email is not a place where you have to include all the details about your book. It’s simply an email where you have to mention only the important points. Adding long synopsis can make your author lose interest in the book in no time. It must be to-the-point and leaving room for agents to read the book themselves when they want to.

You have to be as succinct in your email as possible. If you want to show your creativity in just one email by mentioning everything. Writing a four or five pages long synopsis can bore your agent, so the best thing is to avoid doing it and keep it as subtle as you can.

Dragged Bio

Your agent has nothing to do with how many cats you own, which is why you have to keep your bio pretty small. Agents are normally interested in knowing the biographical information related to the book, so mentioning anything will only drag it.

For instance, mention your experience related to the book, any information that connects you with the book, or if you have any publishing experience? All of this information makes sense to convince the agent to work with you.

If you’re adding irrelevant information in the email, then you’re not only wasting your time but also wasting your agent’s time. Staying relevant and professional is key to grabbing the agent’s attention.

Breaking the Rules

A lot of agents have layout-specific submission guidelines for their convenience. Rules are there to be followed and if you’re not following them, then you’re making a huge mistake. For instance, some agents ask for the first chapter to be attached to the email. On the other hand, some agencies avoid opening attachments for safety purposes.

It is how it is!

If the agency that you’re writing to has some specific guidelines, then you should ensure them. If they have asked for particular width or margins, then you have to work according to that. You can find all their guidelines on their website, so reading them is the first task before reaching out to them.

Unprofessional Letter

A query letter is written for a specific purpose, so you must make sure it reflects in it. Don’t try to make your email look pretty because that’s not what matters the most. The most important thing is to make sure that your letter looks simple yet appealing to the reader. Using different fonts, colors, etc. can make your letter look informal or unprofessional. It’s not about being cute; it’s about being professional. An agent only cares about your work if it has the potential to attract readers and nothing else matters to them.

Another thing to remember is to avoid adding illustrations, photos, or any such graphic content in your email unless required. If it’s not a requirement, then it’s best to avoid doing it. All you have to do is stick to the point and keep everything as professional as you can while delivering the information about your book in the best way. Nobody wants unwelcomed distractions, so keep them to a minimum.

Closing Thoughts

Ghostwriting services can save you from the hassle, but don’t worry if you’re not hiring one. It’s extremely important to write a catchy and appealing query letter to avoid losing a potential agency. All the best agencies have a certain criterion that the writer is required to follow, so follow them as much as you can to stay in the agent’s good books.

If you’re unable to do it on your own, then the best thing is to hire ghostwriting services to handle the tough tasks for you. Make sure to hire the best one!