Read Out Loud

Read your query letter out loud.

This was some very good advice we received from Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary Agency, at the annual Kentucky Romance Writers "Spring Into Writing" workshop.

Sometimes as writers we tend to get wordy. Imagine that! Query letters are tough to write, and in our efforts to put in all the information we think is necessary, sentences can become long, arduous, and difficult to interpret. That's why he suggested reading your query letter out loud. Hearing the words out loud can bring to light hard to understand phrases, wordy sentences, and things that just plain sound bad and would turn a potential agent or editor off.

It's great advice, and a healthy reminder that what looks good on paper doesn't always read well to the recipient. This is particularly true when we authors write a query letter about a book we know inside and out, backwards and forwards. What makes sense to us may not make sense to someone without the same intimate knowledge of our book.

So read your query letters out loud, to yourself and to other writers you trust, and craft a query letter that's clear, concise, and unique.

Happy reading and writing!


  1. I wrote a new query letter for Breaking Free and read it out loud to myself the other night. Hated it and went back to the one you helped me with and submitted it instead.
    It has more of the elements of the story in it than the other and the emotion is there.
    I've learned to trust my instincts. And usually my first inclinations are the right ones.

    Teresa R.

  2. I agree. Instincts usually really serve us well. I think reading the new query letter out loud to yourself proved that to you! Good for you!

  3. Aaaaahhhh! I am so not succint, but I know that after I write that first draft, I have to go back and try to convey the same message with way less words. I love the idea of reading it out loud to self and others. Wouldn't recommend bouncing it off hubby. He pretty much just wants to pat me on the head and say, "sounds good." Great post. Don't be thrown by the new name. Still Sherry. www.cheriemarks.blogspot.com