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  • Writer's pictureAnahita Karthik

THE ULTIMATE QUERY LETTER TEMPLATE TO GET YOU INSTANT FULL/PARTIAL REQUESTS—Anahita Karthik

Updated: Mar 9

Hello!

It's been ages since I wrote a blog post but I'm thrilled to finally share this one! I know some of you all have been waiting for it. And very patiently, might I add <3

This query letter template was my most successful one, and got me instant full/partial requests. And when I say instant, I mean as quickly as 7 minutes after I clicked send! For those of you who don't know my journey, I queried 5 books before getting an agent, so I've written tons of query letter drafts. I landed upon this one after a lot of trial and error.

Obviously, I'm aware that I landed my agent back in 2022, and it's been two years since, but I've been up-to-date with the industry. I regularly mentor querying writers and conduct workshops, and this template has worked for a lot of writers I've helped. I'm also aware that there are other writers who might have different templates that were successful as well, but this one worked best for me, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed it works for you too :)

Here are a few links you might find helpful to go through before you dive into this particular post:

Now that that's out of the way, let's dive right in:


FORMATTING SPECIFICATIONS

  • Subject Line: Subject should contain age, genre, title of book, and author name, until an agent specifies otherwise. If it is a solicited query, say through a pitch event or conference, include the pitch/conference hashtag/name in the subject line, and then the pitch itself at the top of the query letter, before the salutation.

  • Query Length: While an ideal query letter length would be between 250-350 words, many go longer. Make sure it isn’t more than 1 MS Word page after formatting it correctly, and it should be good to go.

  • Font & Spacing: Readable font (like Times New Roman, Garamond, or Georgia), size 12, Black text colour, Single-line spacing, space between paragraphs, no indents.

  • Structure: Should follow a tripartite structure, with metadata, pitch, and bio. Other elements are the subject line, salutation, sign off, and content warnings. Metadata and bio should be 1 paragraph long each, while pitch should be 3 paragraphs.

  • Metadata: Metadata (1 paragraph only) comes right after the salutation or after the pitch (before the bio) and consists of details that help the agent figure out the exact market for your book: title, age, genre, word count, comparative titles/authors, and personalisation.

  • Personalisation: You don't have to personalise every query unless the personalisation is specific. Don't just say something like "Since you are on the lookout for YA Fantasy...". If you can't find something more specific to your book like, "Since you were on the lookout for BIPOC retellings of popular fairytales...", just say, "I'm seeking representation for...".


THE ULTIMATE QUERY LETTER TEMPLATE

SUBJECT: [Specification] [Age] [Genre] - Title of Book - Author Name

[Pitch if any]

Dear [Agent-Name],

Since you [expressed an interest in.../are actively seeking.../on the lookout for...], I was hoping you might like [Title], a/an [Age] [Genre] complete at [Word Count] words. [Insert Comparative Titles and Authors]

[Pitch paragraph 1 - introduction to characters and setting, build-up, and inciting incident]

[Pitch paragraph 2 - result of inciting incident and potential solution]

[Pitch paragraph 3 - closing of stakes. This has to be the most important part of your query letter, like “now the MC must choose between X and X …/now the MC must do X or risk X…”. Here, X and X are two equally difficult choices. The stakes help wrap the query up and tie it with a neat bow, and they must be super personal to the MC]

[Short bio] Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

[Author Name] [insert pronouns if comfortable]


QUERY LETTER WRITTEN USING THIS TEMPLATE

NOTE: This is not the query letter that got me my agent, but one I wrote for Better Catch Up, Krishna Kumar, my book coming out with HarperTeen. I have a separate blog post with the original query letter that got me my agent, and I've shared the link at the beginning of this post. I wrote the one below just for the blog post so I could demonstrate how to use this template. I also did not pitch this book during any pitching events, so #SamplePitch is a fake event I've created as an example. I hope that clarifies any doubts you might have.


SUBJECT: #SamplePitch query - YA rom-com - BETTER CATCH UP, KRISHNA KUMAR - Anahita Karthik

PITCH: bi4bi JAB WE MET x TSITP When Krishna's crush sends her a flirty text promising her a kiss, she sets off on a road trip to find him ft. her mean cousin Priti & Priti's brooding bff Rudra. Krishna's determined not to mess up—until she starts falling for Rudra instead.

Dear Becca,

Since you were on the lookout for YA romances similar to This Time It’s Real, I was hoping you might like Better Catch Up, Krishna Kumar, my bi4bi YA rom-com complete at 85,000 words and perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Axie Oh, and Ann Liang. The novel draws inspiration from the desi road trip romance plot line of Jab We Met, captures the summer and first love feels of The Summer I Turned Pretty, and will appeal to readers who enjoyed XOXO by Axie Oh. During #SamplePitch, Carolina Ortiz at HarperTeen liked my pitch for the novel.

Eighteen-year-old Krishna Kumar has just had the best summer of her life. She’s ticked off every point on her “summer before med school” checklist – well, almost every point, because she didn’t quite have the elusive summer fling she’s been dreaming of with the cute boy next door, Amrit Acharya. Sure, they’ve been flirting on and off, but there’s still an asterisk for no kissing on her list. So, when Krishna’s flight back to the US gets cancelled and Amrit sends her the text – promising a raincheck on the goodbye kiss he “owes” her, winky face emoji and all – she sees a chance to finally have her moment.

Unfortunately, Amrit isn’t in Mumbai anymore; he’s at his second-cousin’s wedding in Goa – having left her farewell party early to make the trip – which is a day’s travel away. Which means Krishna needs to convince her best-cousin-turned-enemy, Priti, the only one with access to a car, to join her on a road trip so that she can crash a wedding, surprise Amrit, slay her first kiss, and return in time to make the next flight home. Problem is, said car belongs to Priti’s brooding best friend Rudra Desai, who has been a stranger to Krishna all her life, a background character in Krishna’s sunshine montage.

Now, Krishna has to spend twenty-four hours on the road with Snow Queen and her equally cold best friend, without sending her DDLJ-esque plans spitballing down the drain. That includes avoiding confrontational fights with Priti about why Krishna’s immigration split them apart, owning the pieces of her culture she lost when she moved, and most importantly…avoiding falling for Rudra Desai.

With Bollywood references aplenty, a slow burn romance, and chaotic chapter titles, Better Catch Up, Krishna Kumar is my love letter to India. I’ve always loved to travel (given my father’s transferable job), particularly by road, and made the same whirlwind trip in 2022 with my college friends, which inspired Krishna’s story. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

Anahita Karthik [she/her]


Just a couple more things: the personalisation is fake as well, haha, because Becca's MSWL page doesn't specify that she's looking for rom-coms like This Time It's Real. I added it in purely as an example. And if you're wondering, Carolina Ortiz is my editor for this book at HarperTeen. If you're interested in reading my book, you can add it to Goodreads!

Let me know if you have any questions/doubts/clarifications in the comments below and I'll be happy to get back to you :)

Happy writing and good luck querying!

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