Formatting and Sending Queries

When I began this process I had no idea there were so many options for submitting a query to an agent. Call me naive. So, I’m here to give you all a heads up and a few tips.

Sending Queries:

There are a number of ways agents and publishers receive queries, synopsis, and manuscript samples.

  1. Snail mail with or without SASE (self-addressed & stamped envelope)
  2. email (the majority)
  3. Online form specific to the agent and/or publisher

We’ll Cover the Snail Mail or Postal /mail Query in this Post.


  • Paper:
    • Use better paper than average. Recommendations: a minimum of 20-22 weight and 90 plus brightness.  White or cream color only.
  • Margins:
    • standard margins of 1′ for the top and bottom margins and 1-14″ for left and right margins.
  • Fonts, and Font Size:
    • Standard is 12 – point Times New Roman or New Courier.
  • The header for the postal mail query:
    • On the header portion of your sheet and centered is your contact information.

Your Full Name
Your Business Address if Applicable
Your Street Address
Your City, State, and Postal Zip Code
Phone:(xxx) – xxx-xxx

  • Addresses:
    • Normally you would include a recipient’s complete address after your contact information in a business letter. However, when your query letter is limited to 1 page, it is better to skip it.
  • Date:
    • After your contact information, skip a line and add the date; align to the right.

September, 19, 2018

  • Salutation:
    • This is where the research on each agent pays off. Include each literary agent’s name in your query letter and spell it correctly. Use a colon after the name, not a comma.

Dear Mr. or Ms. Agent Name:

  • Body of the letter:
    • You may indent your paragraphs but it is not necessary
    • left justify all text in body.
    • Add a space between paragraphs
    • When talking about your book either ALL CAPS or Italicize it.
  • Closing:
    • A simple and time-honored closing is best.
    • “Thank you for your consideration,” or “Thank you for your kind consideration.”
  • SASE (self-addressed & stamped envelope) –
    • It is standard practice when submitting agent queries that you include a return envelope with your query. The agents use it to respond with either a rejection letter, invitation to submit additional material, or better.
    • Requires a #10 business size envelope.
    • When you include your SASE fold it into thirds so it fits.
    • The SASE is addressed to you.
    • Include sufficient pre-paid postage to cover the cost of
      • a rejection letter
      • rejection letter with original material returned (if requested).
      • acceptance letter or request for additional material.
    • another option is to enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard instead of a SASE.  Imprinted with something similar to the following:
      • ____Please send the completed manuscript
      • ____Please send the first five chapters
      • ____Thank you for your interest but this is not quite right for us.

There you have it. How to send out a snail mail query. I hope you found it helpful. a word of caution, always follow the agencies guidelines, regardless of the method you are sending.

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. I’m all ears and look for me on Facebook Page  at SheilaMcIntyreGood, PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.





Before You Query ​- Tips

Be Calm and Query On

I’ll admit when I started the process, I thought the most difficult part would be finding the right agent to query. Just goes to show you how much I know – zilch, zip, zero. Querying is NOT for the faint of heart. But, be encouraged––I’m going to give you my tips and what I’ve learned, so far in the process.


1. Get organized – to help you streamline the query process. 

  • Make sure all your materials are completed, edited, & ready to use. DO NOT query until they are. (Completed Manuscript; Synopsis, Pitch, Author Bio, and a frame-work query letter you can personalize to each agent.
  • Make sure you have some method for keeping up with your queries. You need to be aware of the agent and agencies they represent – you can only query one agent in the same agency at a time. I use Query Tracker to keep up with mine (more on that later).
  • Before you get query – research about agents, your genre, and familiarize yourself with the different types of submissions (snail mail, email, form) More on those later.

2. Find your agency/agent/publisher resources––some great places to start:

 3.  Select a number of agents/publishers you want to query.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the agent: read her profile, Twitter account, Website and get a good understanding of what type of queries she or he is seeking. Knowing your agent before you write that query letter makes all the difference.
  2. Know how to format your materials for submission via email, mail, and online.
  3. Make sure you read and follow the agents specific guidelines for submissions, including what must be in the query, email, and formatting. It is different for each agent.

 4. Be realistic and patient.

Do NOT expect a fast turnaround. Average time vary from agent to agents but don’t be dismayed to know that it can take 4-8 weeks for any response.

Stayed tuned, I’ll cover how to format your materials for each method of submission in the next post.

What has been your querying experience?

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. I’m all ears and look for me on Facebook Page at SheilaMcIntyreGoodPinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.