on Fiction University:
How much can you really tell about a novel from its query?
A lot, actually.
It’s the rare writer who actually enjoys writing a query (I’m one of those now, but that wasn’t always the case). Say the word query around a group of writers and you’ll most likely hear groans. Odds are, someone in that group will ask, “Why do we need to do this? It’s not like an agent can tell anything about the book from two paragraphs anyway.”
Would it surprise you to hear you can tell a lot about a book from the query letter?
As a writer, I’ve critiqued more queries and novels than I can count, and I don’t even come close to the number agents and editors see every month, if not every week. But I can tell what problems I’m likely to find in a manuscript after reading just the query letter.