Query Hack

What is Query Hack?

Query Hack is a query critique platform launched by the iWriterly team where writers have the opportunity to submit their book queries or Twitter pitches for FREE feedback from an industry professional. As part of iWriterly’s mission to give back to the writing community and help writers achieve their publication goals, blogs and videos will be published periodically, critiquing individual queries or Twitter pitches and providing recommendations for areas of improvement.

For those who are new to the traditional publication journey, queries are one-page cover letters specific to the book publishing industry. Typically, queries are submitted to literary agents when a writer is seeking literary representation in order to have their novel traditionally published (along with any other specified materials, such as manuscript pages and a synopsis).

While there is no one “right” way to write a query, queries must consist of the following information:

  • Story blurb: A 1-3 paragraph teaser of your manuscript (plot, characters, motives, ultimate stakes) that reads like a book jacket & does NOT give away the ending
  • Metadata: Word count, genre, and age group
  • Manuscript title 
  • Bio
  • Personalization: Reason(s) why you are querying that particular agent


Popular Query Formats

Before you query a literary agent at an agency, check their submission guidelines AND the individual agent’s bio page to see if the agent specifies how s/he would like you to format your query. (And, of course, check out Meg’s blogs and iWriterly videos on the topic to avoid classic beginner mistakes.)

If the agent doesn’t specify a preference, here are two query formats that many writers who write excellent queries utilize:

Query Format #1

  • Dear [name of agent],
  • Paragraph 1: Story blurb
  • Paragraph 2: Story blurb
  • Paragraph 3: Story blurb
  • Paragraph 4: Metadata, title, personalization
  • Paragraph 5: Bio

Query Format #2

  • Dear [name of agent],
  • Paragraph 1: Metadata, title, personalization
  • Paragraph 2: Story blurb
  • Paragraph 3: Story blurb
  • Paragraph 4: Story blurb
  • Paragraph 5: Bio


How the Query Critique Works

One query will be critiqued per post (or video). Meg will provide written comments throughout the query in purple with suggestions for improvement in posts. Feedback format will vary in iWriterly videos.

To be respectful of writers’ privacy, names will not be included in the query critique.

Although Meg won’t be able to critique every query that’s submitted, writers are welcome to submit ONE query per manuscript to be considered for our iWriterly query critique. Duplicate queries will be deleted.

Writers will not be notified if their query is chosen for critique, so be sure to keep an eye on the query critique page and iWriterly YouTube channel to see if your query was chosen!


Before You Submit

Prior to submitting your query for critique, make sure to do your homework. For more information about how to write queries, what should be included in your query, when to begin querying, and more, check out Meg’s iWriterly videos, feature articles, and Query Hack critiques.


How to Write a Twitter Pitch

New to Twitter or unsure what to include in your Twitter pitch? Watch Meg’s iWriterly video on how to write a twitter pitch for your manuscript.


Submit Query/Twitter Pitch for Critique

In order for your query to be considered for the critique, fill out THIS FORM.

To submit your Twitter pitch for critique, fill out THIS FORM.