You Know Your Query Letter Sucks When You Haven’t Given Them a Reason to Trust You

by | Mar 14, 2011 | Book Marketing Basics

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Have you ever been on the phone with a friend of yours and your friend can’t hear you or they don’t recognize your voice? They can be rude, down right mean, “Who?? Who is this?!” they demand.

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Yet, once they realize who you are, their entire tone changes. You can feel that scowl in their forehead melt and a smile in their voice. Why? Because they know who you are.

Referrals are an aspiring author’s best friend.  If you can find someone the literary agent knows to recommend you or at least someone who will allow you to use their name in an introduction, you will be ten steps ahead of everyone else.

When someone else refers you or recommends you to an agent, you are brought in at that same level. You don’t start from ground zero, like all the other aspiring authors. No, you are on a whole other plane.

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Always, always, always get the person’s permission to use their name before you mention them. They may even be kind enough to give the literary agent a call or email to let them know that you’ll be reaching out to them.

If you know someone the agent knows, mention that in the very first sentence. Do this and you’ll be one step closer to landing an agent.

Author Jeff Rivera in New York City's East Vil...

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Jeff Rivera is the founder of With over 100 clients to date, he has a 100% track record of getting at least 10 literary agents to request to read his client’s manuscripts and proposals.


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1 Comment

  1. Stephen Tiano

    I grew up during the 1960s. I did est. I’m a liberal who thinks the conservative fascistas talk so much about loving America to disguise that they don’t really like Americans.

    The above is by way of a kind of disclaimer, as I’m about to espouse some heresy.

    This is such touchy-geeky bullshit to be talk in about “trust”. It’s just another example of how the Internet has given birth to a whole bunch of us professional bullshitters–and I include myself to a degree, as I am a blogger. And I use the word “bullshit” not to imply untruth, but just airy-fairy jazz that’s said more for the benefit of those doing the saying than for those on the receiving end.

    This is another example of how the old adage about “those who can do and those who can’t teach” is still true. People who really have, for instance, the absolute winningest formula for playing the stock market would keep it to themselves and use it.

    I think it’s unconscionable that all these online fivers of advice make a living from nothing more than telling others how to do stuff they don’t earn a living doing. If a good part of my income didn’t come from designing and typesetting books, it would be immoral for me to blog–and I don’t even charge folks to read my blog–on the subject, I think.

    There’s too much making a fuss about things thT should be taken in stride. Just write a query letter that represents who you are and what you do. Write it well. Keep the bullshit out. And for God’s sake, forget about this trust crap, as you’re not asking them to marry you.


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