Agent Query Cover Letters

So, I have a question for anyone who has considered submitting to a literary agency or has submitted.  Have you ever written a cover letter instead of a query letter?

I’m working on one for the Sheldon Fogelman Agency, and I’m just not quite sure about it. I was wondering if anyone has some advice about typing one of these up.  I’ve got the synopsis down pretty good, I hope (gutting some of my query letter) but it’s mostly the bio I’m struggling with. I mean, I have not published a thing, anywhere! How does this sound to everyone?

I wrote Lulu Buys a Hat after my own experiences hunting for a good hat that wasn’t too expensive and looked just right. It took several shops, and a best friend in tow, to find the best hat in an area where hats are not a common thing.  When I am not writing picture books, I write weekly on my own WordPress blog, entitled Kate’s Bookshelf.  I was referred to your agency via the Writing and Illustrating blog, run by Kathy Temean.

Jazzy enough?   Yep, I am relying on you readers for some help. You’ve been great in the past and I am SOOOOOOOO nervous I’m going to do the wrong thing. I’ve only queried two agencies in the past.  So, any help you want to share would be great.

Alright bloggers. Have a marvelous Wednesday evening! I’m off to pick some jostaberries. Yes, that is a real thing. Ah, farm life. I wish it was more of a writing life (by which I mean published author writing life)

Signing off


6 thoughts on “Agent Query Cover Letters

  1. Kate,

    I like that you mention what inspired the book and I like the title, but you need to say something about what LuLu does in the book. The way it is written sounds like the best friend in tow, etc. is what you did to find a hat.


    • Kathy, Thank you so much for commenting regarding my cover letter. (it’s actually because of your post on the agency I looked into them) The part you read was only the bio/ second paragraph with writing credentials. The first part with the summary goes as follows :I would like to submit my manuscript, Lulu Buys a Hat, to your agency. Lulu Buys a Hat is an unillustrated picture book about a young woman trying to find the perfect fancy hat for when she and her best friend, Mimi, go out on the town. Shopping for hats is hard when most of them are too expensive or not the right size. So will Lulu and Mimi find the perfect hat for those special occasions? That can only be answered at the end of the story.”

      This is the first time I’ve tried a cover letter so I’m quite nervous. :/
      But I do quite appreciate your feedback.

      • Is this a book for children? Usually picture books are for kids up to seven. It sounds like you are trying to start a new genre and your setting yourself up to be turned down. Did you expect that someone would illustrate the book or do you see it without any illustrations? If you do see if with illustrations, the agent will be confused by you pointing out it is unillustrated. The only time you would mention the illustrations is if you were an illustrator and you include some samples. I would suggest that you revise the book to make it two little girls looking for a hat. Their mother can be around. Otherwise, I would use it in a scene in a teen novel. Think it would make for a fun picture book with some tweaking.

  2. I have never written a cover letter instead of a query letter. A query letter kind of seems like a special kind of cover letter, at least in my opinion, but so many agencies have different requests for submissions that you never know!

    My best advice for the agent search is not to be scared of submitting! It can be tough to get the rejections, especially if you’ve queried one of your ‘top-pick’ agents, but it only takes one agent to love your work! I think I got rejected close to 100 times before I signed with mine. Yikes, that sounds crazy now that I thought of it in those terms! Probably best not to keep track!

    • I love the advice you give. It’s always a calming influence next to some of the other advice I get. I’m always thinking something isn’t good enough before sending it in and yes, you are right, that just going for it is probably the best idea. And there is one that you just might get out of your own pile of agencies you pick. I can’t imagine 100 rejections, but I know the author of The Help had the same thing. I think I worry so much about a perfect letter that I get lost in the trying to send it in. I did get some good advice about my query/cover letter, and personally I prefer the query letter since that is what I started on, but if an agency wants a cover letter, I guess I have to go with it. Thank you so much for commenting. I always love it when I get someone who has gone through the process, because you know. 🙂

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