What is a query letter?
Only the most important ±250 words you’ll ever write for your book (if you’re trying to get an agent).
A “query” can be defined as “a question.” So a query letter is a letter that poses the question, “Would you like to read more?” By nature, the query letter implies the question, so you don’t have to ask it.
A query letter consists of a greeting, a mini synopsis (DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH A REGULAR SYNOPSIS), a relevant biography and a Title/Genre/Word count paragraph. Some writers also include target audience.
A lot of people think the query letter is just the mini synopsis and skip sending the relevant biography, so some agents specify they want the bio as well.
Some queries have a one paragraph mini synopsis. Other queries have a 3-5 paragraph mini synopsis.
What matters is that the protagonist (main character) and his problem are presented. Basically, the major plot point. Sometimes this means introducing the antagonist as well, but not all queries have them.
Pick up a book, look at the back. There’s a short description for the main crux of the story. Its only point in life is to make you want to read more. That’s what a query should do—give the agent just enough information to care, but not enough to know how it ends.
QUERIES DO NOT GIVE AWAY THE ENDING!
Visit how to write a query for a little advice.