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Formatting the e-mail query

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Robinne Weiss

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OK, because I fret over this every time...When you send a query by e-mail, do you format it as a physical letter (that is, with your address, recipient address, date at the top), or do you go with the standard e-mail format (launch right in with 'dear so-and-so' at the top, 'signature' with your contact details at the bottom? Does it matter? Which do you think looks more professional?

My gut reaction (and the way I've sent out all my queries so far), is to go with the e-mail style, not the formal business letter style (which seems anachronistic to me in e-mail), but so many query letter examples you see on line are in the business letter format, and I question myself every time I send a query.
 

Carol Rose

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Not sure the email would even stay formatted if you took the time to do it. Even if all looks well in your "sent" emails, they have a tendency to lose the formatting, spacing, etc. on the recipient's end. I'd launch right in, and put your contact info at the bottom. You don't need a date since the email program will take care of that for you.
 

Peggy Lou

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Either would be ok. I don't think there's any hard and fast rule. At least not according to what I've read.
 

Paul Whybrow

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I've always queried in the usual email format, and no one has ever complained. They might think one odd if using a physical letter format—if you could get it to transmit whole across the airwaves.

I've only ever queried literary agents who take email submissions, apart from one time. Back in 2015, when I researched and pursued 160 of them, I uncovered the one literary agent who operates in Cornwall—and only 15 miles from me. Bizarrely, she only took queries written in long hand. Not to be intimidated, I bought a fountain pen and a friend donated some handmade, deckle-edged paper, and in my best penmanship I wrote to her outlining my proposal.

She didn't respond. I wasn't that upset, as it goes to prove the theory that Cornwall is shaped like a Christmas stocking which has been shaken, meaning all of the nuts have ended up down here!
 
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Paperback Heroes Wednesdays BBC 4

Nobel Lit Prize for Bob Dylan

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