Write Compelling Queries for Novel & Memoir


Thursday, May 30, 2024 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (EST). The query letter has one purpose, and one purpose only: to seduce the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. The query letter is so much of a sales piece that it’s possible to write one without having written a word of the manuscript. All it requires is a firm grasp of the story premise—the most essential part of the query for a novelist or memoirist. This class will directly help you with the second issue, as well as offer methods of determining whether the first issue might be a problem. Jane has edited more than 5,000 query letters during her career and has literally seen it all. Her industry experience gives her exceptional insight into what agents and editors see all the time, and what will or will not be memorable.

What you’ll learn

  • Why novel and memoir queries share the same secrets to success (and why you can learn from good and bad examples of both types)
  • The key elements that every novel or memoir query letter needs, and what’s optional
  • What a story premise should include and how to avoid getting overly detailed
  • How to avoid the dreaded laundry-list quality in your story premise
  • What strong comparable titles look like and what to do if you’re failing to find decent comps
  • What to say in your bio note, especially if you’ve never published a thing to your name
  • The appropriate length for a query letter
  • How much you should discuss the target readership of your work
  • How much you should get into marketing plans or platform-related information
  • What self-published authors should do when querying for a new work or an existing, self-published book (but here’s the answer to the latter—it will save you money and time)
  • Informed guidance on breaking the rules

Who should take this class

  • Any novelist preparing to query agents or editors, especially those pitching for the first time
  • Any memoirist preparing to query agents or editors—again, especially first-timers

This class will not cover: nonfiction (except for memoir), children's picture books, anything written in verse, and experimental works that aren't easily categorized

Class Details

Cost: $89.00

Format: Virtual

Class Start: Thursday, May 30, 2024 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (EST)

Additional Information

For other inquiries, contact info@zibbyclasses.com

About the Instructor

Jane Friedman has spent nearly 25 years working in the book publishing industry, with a focus on author education and trend reporting. She is the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2023. Her latest book is THE BUSINESS OF BEING A WRITER (University of Chicago Press), which received a starred review from Library Journal. In addition to serving on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund, she works with organizations such as The Authors Guild to bring transparency to the business of publishing. Learn more at JaneFriedman.com.

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