Query Letters are Hard

I’m drafting a query letter to send to writing agents in an attempt to seduce them into asking for the full manuscript of my book. It may be the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do. It is definitely the most difficult 300 words I have ever written.

I’m really hung up on getting the voice right. I want to be authentic, obviously. But I’m selling a collection of humorous essays. The letter MUST be funny. But it is also a business letter. It MUST be professional so that they take me seriously. Here is an example of a sentence that is giving me some aggravation. I think it’s funny. The editor of my dreams should find it funny. It is NOT however professional, and I am therefore irresolute.

“I work in pharmaceuticals professionally and write recreationally, but I am working toward making a permanent transition wherein I would write professionally and do pharmaceuticals recreationally.”

See what I mean?

I’m in a no-win situation.

I have no more to say about the matter; I just needed to vent some frustration. And if there are writers out there who might have some advice, I’m all eyes. (Because it’s a blog and you would be writing back and I would read your comments… never mind.)

About Rachel Lewis

I am a writer, ceramic artist, knitter, and stepmom. As a playwright, I had six short plays produced in showcases and festivals in Manhattan, Salt Lake City, and Austin. My full-length play, Locking Doors, was presented by Wordsmith Theatre Company in The New Lab Theatre (University of Utah) in 2005. I co-wrote a teleplay titled “Thank God I’m Atheist” which won the 2015 “No God But Funny” contest founded by the Center for Inquiry. My short nonfiction essay, “It’s Coming Down,” was published by the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. My essay "The Red Rock Chronicles" was published in Contemporary West magazine. I currently work in pharmaceuticals professionally and write recreationally, but dream of making the transition to write professionally and do pharmaceuticals recreationally. I am a Utah native and live in Salt Lake City with my family and our Goldendoodle. I am working on a collection of humorous non-fiction essays and a second full-length play. Follow me at: rachelclewis.com @rachel_lewis_ut (Twitter) @rachel_lewis_ut (Instagram)

2 responses to “Query Letters are Hard

  1. Hello, and thank you for a heart-felt post. I understand exactly what you mean and am struggling with the ever-difficult query letter myself. I really don’t have specific advise, only encouragement and understanding.

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