It's the part of a book’s journey that authors least look forward to.
The search for a literary agent.
And why would you? Between the never-ending research, the endless querying, the feelings of not being in control, and the idea that you’ll have to convince someone you’ve never met why you and your book are worthy of representation, and then ask them to pick you, it's enough to make your head spin.
Not to mention, all the insecurities it brings up.
The thought that maybe you’re just not good enough.
What if your book isn’t really as good as you’ve convinced yourself it is?
What if no one even asks to read it?
What if all of them ask to read it, and no one likes it?
And on and on and on.
Here’s the thing: Most authors feel powerless during this process because we’re taught to feel powerless.
We’re told we have to be picked.
We’re waiting to be deemed worthy.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way?
What if you went into the agent search fully in your power, with the understanding that you have a fantastic story to tell (and sell), and you’re looking for the right person to take it to market?
And it starts with how you write that query letter.
Hi! My name is Natasha Khullar Relph.
I’m an award-winning journalist with bylines in The New York Times, TIME, CNN, BBC, ABC, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and more. Earlier this year, I parted ways with my agent of five years and once I was done day drinking and ugly crying, I rolled up my sleeves and decided it was time for me to find a new agent.
Within eight weeks, I had signed with two top agencies, one in New York and the other in London.
How? Read on.
Whether or not you sign up for the workshop, there’s one thing I want you to take away from reading this:
An excellent query letter will give you not only the best chance of being read, but of getting multiple offers of representation.
And with multiple offers in hand, you can choose the right agent for you rather than the first (and only) one who offers.
This is what most writers get wrong about querying agents.
They think the goal of a query letter is to sum up their book.
The goal of the query letter is to get the agent to request your manuscript.
Now does this mean that you’ll need to provide details about your book, the genre, possibly even comps? Sure. But the goal here isn’t to provide a complete summary of your book.
The goal here is to intrigue an agent, to give them a sense of the conflict so that they want to read it.
From there, it’s on your writing and on your book. Whether someone loves your book or not is a separate conversation.
But they cannot love your book if they don’t first read your book.
Your book may, in fact, be exactly what an agent is looking for, but if your query letter doesn’t intrigue them enough to want to request the chapters, they’ll never get a chance to see that.
The query letter you send to an agent has one purpose and one purpose only.
It’s to intrigue an agent enough to say, “Yes, please send me chapters.” Or proposal, if you’re writing nonfiction.
I should know.
The query letter for my novel got 12 requests for fulls from a total of 23 agents.
The query letter for the memoir I’m co-writing got 6 requests for the proposal within the first twelve hours.
I had multiple offers on both.
My simple 5-minute “what’s this book really about?” exercise.
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to take a 90,000-word book and condense it into the two or three sentences that will intrigue an agent, but that’s what your query letter needs to do. And presumably, why you’ve been procrastinating on writing the damn thing.
No more! With this exercise, you’ll be able to get to the heart of your story and use it to excite agents into requesting more.
Cliffhangers that make agents go “Oooh!”
Creating curiosity is the most important function of your query letter.
Your instinct may be to tell agents everything about your book, but not only do you not have the space to do this, it’s also ineffective.
I will show you how to create curiosity and build intrigue by giving away enough to whet their appetite, but leave them wanting more.
The difference between fiction, non-fiction, and memoir query letters, and how to approach each.
The way you write the query letter for your novel will not be the same way you approach the query letter for your memoir.
Knowing the difference, and highlighting the right elements of each, will save you a lot of heartache, no responses, and rejections.
By learning what agents are looking for from each kind of project, you’re more effectively able to give it to them.
My “Pitch in a Day” strategy, which will have you finishing your query letter… TODAY.
No more procrastinating, taking months to write this simple email, and getting four critiques from four different writers, none of whom agree.
You’re about to get super confident at this pitching game and I’m here to coach you through every step of the way.
This process may have felt scary, frustrating, or confusing, but after this workshop, you will have clarity on how you’re going to write this pitch, and confidence when you send it out.
This 90-minute workshop, with 60 minutes of instruction and 30 minutes of Q&A, was recorded live and is now available as a replay. You'll get immediate access to the workshop and resources upon registration.
BONUS! Anyone who purchases our workshops is invited to join our exclusive student community of writers and receive ongoing support at no additional cost.
Hi, I'm Natasha Khullar Relph!
I’m an award-winning freelance journalist, author, and entrepreneur from New Delhi, India. I’ve lived and worked from four continents and several countries, and currently call Brighton (UK) home.
I'm a hybrid author, which means that while I've been represented by top literary agencies (Trident Media Group in New York and Peters Fraser + Dunlop in London) for my novels and narrative nonfiction, I also indie publish books for writers and anything else that catches my fancy.
My books include Shut Up & Write: The No-Nonsense, No B.S. Guide to Getting Words on the Page and eight other bestselling books for writers. My work has also been included in The Lonely Planet Travel Anthology: True Stories From the World’s Best Writers (Lonely Planet, 2016), Breaking Out: How to Build Influence in a World of Competing Ideas (Harvard Business Review Press, May 2013), Voices of Alcoholism (LaChance Publishing, April 2008), and Chicken Soup for the Pre-Teen Soul 2 (HCI, June 2004).
Typically, when it comes to pitching agents, the writer is advised to play small.
Instead of treating it like the business partnership that it is, between two equals, writers are encouraged to do everything they can to impress agents, be grateful for any offer, and treat every bit of advice that comes from an agent as gospel.
That's not how I roll.
And by the end of this workshop, that's not how you'll roll either.
This 90-minute workshop will give you the mindset, the attitude, and the strategy you need to write an agent query letter that gets responses.
I’ll show you how to succinctly and efficiently summarize your book, but more importantly, how to use sales strategies to evoke an emotional response from agents, and get them to request your book.
Any writer who is currently or will soon be querying literary agents for their book.
All three! The basics of all three types of query letters are the same, but there are significant differences in the way the three categories of books are handled that can really impact the effectiveness of your query letter. I will be addressing the commonalities, as well as the individual needs of each.
This workshop was held and recorded live. You'll get a video recording as soon as you register.
Yes! When you register for the workshop, you'll be invited to an exclusive member-only community of writers where you can ask questions and get ongoing support.
If you’ll be pitching agents soon, absolutely! But if you’re just finishing up the first draft and need to go through a few more rounds of editing and revising, then you might prefer to wait. While it’s always a good idea to learn how to pitch effectively, knowing what your book is about and having clarity about where it fits into the marketplace is key to writing an effective pitch. So if you’re still in discovery with your book, I’d recommend waiting. However, if you’re nearing the end, then jump right in.
Absolutely. In fact, if you’re learning the best strategies and getting a template that works right from the beginning, then you’re not going to make the expensive mistakes that cost authors in both money and years of frustration.
Definitely! This workshop will be perfect for you and will help you see why your query letter might not have had the results you wanted. And of course, how to tweak it so that it does this time around!
When you have clarity on how to approach the query letter, writing it becomes easier.
When you have confidence in what you’re sending out, you’re able to back yourself and your book.
When you’re able to effectively communicate what your book is and who it’s for, you’re able to attract agents who are the right fit for you and immediately eliminate the ones who aren’t.
You start understanding why rejections are a good thing.
Querying agents goes from being a process of “being selected” to selecting the right agent for you.
It all begins with how you write that query letter. And if you’d like to learn how to make yours effective, then grab your spot now.
You can purchase How to Write a Query Letter That gets Manuscript Requests as a standalone workshop. Or, you can get it as part of Wordling Plus, our learning platform that gives you access to all our best courses, workshops, and trainings, for a fraction of the price.
What you get: