The Ultimate Guide To Writing An Outstanding Query

How To Query

A query is a short, to-the-point email that you can send to an agent, producer, filmmaker or publisher. Usually 2-3 lines long only, it will detail who you are, what you have (ie. a logline or short pitch) and a polite enquiry whether that person will read it.

I am a HUGE fan of query emails. I must have sent thousands over the years. Many have lead to read requests, meetings and even paid jobs for me. What’s more, even places that say ‘no unsolicited material’ will accept queries … They either ignore and delete them, or get back to you and say ‘YES PLEASE’ to your writing!

Literally no one has ever written back to me and said, ‘How dare you query me!!!’

It seems crazy to me that writers don’t send query emails because they are such an effective tool.  Quick to compose and easy to send, they increase your chances of getting industry pros’ eyes on your work. What’s not to like???

My Number 1 Top Submission Tip?

Bang2writers ask me all the time for my top submission tips … but the thing is, submissions ain’t rocket science! As long as you check and follow the submissions guidelines, you should be fine. (‘Well, DUH!’ you might say, but really, believe me when I say writers are STILL shooting themselves in the foot on this one!).

But following the submissions guidelines is even EASIER in the digital age, since most agents, publishers, producers and filmmakers will have these guideline listed on their websites. Get Googling! Alternatively, check out the submission tip links below.

Key Questions

But okay, I’ve been working with writers long enough to notice common submissions questions they end up agonising over. Here they are:

– Does the title page affect the overall page count?

Nope. ALWAYS include a title page, too (unless asked not to).

– Should I put my name and contact details on the title page?

YES!!! (Unless you are expressly asked not to). While we’re on the subject, make sure you name your files too when you submit stuff digitally (again, unless you are expressly asked not to).

– It doesn’t say what *exactly* to submit. So what do I send?

When it doesn’t say a word or page count, a full draft and a one page pitch is fine.

– Do I HAVE to send a one page pitch?

If says you do, then yes. If not, then you don’t … BUT it is always a good idea to send a (good) one pager. It’s another chance to sell your story/writing skills ‘off the page’. Here’s some tips on writing a great one pager, plus a free PDF download one page pitch reference guide (it’s the red one!).

– The website says ‘no unsolicited material’ — now what do I do???

Simple … This means they don’t want stuff they haven’t expressly asked for, that’s all. So you get them to ASK FOR IT.

– Erm, how do I get people to ASK for my writing???

You query them! This involves writing a short, concise letter or email to the person you want to ask for your stuff. Check out the infographic below and/or the links. What’s the worst that could happen? They may say no, for ignore you altogether … Alternatively, they may just SEND IT! Eeek!

GOOD LUCK!!!

Want More Writing Secrets?

B2W’s next eCourse is The Submissions Secrets Bootcamp which begins again on July 26th, 2021! Bang2writer Demy Watts says, ‘This course really is gold!! Lucy covers literally everything, no stone left unturned.’

CLICK HERE to join B2W on Teachable or on any of the pics in this article. Take Submissions Secrets and identify your  goals, create a submissions strategy and get your writing in front of the people who matter in 2021!


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