Since I'll be querying my paranormal romance (PNR) novel soon, I've been doing a lot of reading about how to write the most effective letter. PNR stories are so varied and quite popular these days. You need to stand out to get noticed, and it all starts with this one email.
The same rules for any query letter apply here too:
- Be professional.
- Be concise.
- Mind your manners.
You want to hook the editor or agent. Most people reading queries for PNR don't want the email to start off with the boring "I'm seeking representation for my blah blah blah." Jump right into it. Ensnare them immediately with the story hook.
If you're able to capture the hook in one sentence, go for it. It's difficult because you want it to encompass the protagonist, the tone, and the conflict. Example: When reluctant psychic, Remy Jones, saves the life of an old woman, she doesn’t expect to be granted a wish in return. (Keri Arthur's HEART'S WISH)
The brief blurb for the book should be between four and six sentences. Make every word count. You must cover the who, what, where, when, and why. And it can't be an every day voice. This is PNR. You must take them out of the ordinary. Also remember that the romance is key. It's what everything hinges upon. Grab their hearts and twist with a great furry werewolf hand.
Include tropes. If you think you don't have any, read your manuscript again. They're there. The tropes like vampires-hate-werewolves-but-protagonist-falls-in-love-with-one or best-friends-turned-lovers are important for the agent or editor to know where you're coming from. PNR publishers tend to like Alpha males, but they won't totally discount you if you have another powerful trope. There's also a call for unique supernatural creatures.
I wish I could offer you more tips than these. I wish someone could tell me what the secret is to writing an amazing query letter. As much as we want to break it down and make a science of it, it's more about heart than anything else.
Do you have any tips for writing query letters?