Writing a good query letter can be as important as writing a good book. And it’s a completely different skillset! In this class, I will demystify the query letter and the querying process, providing directions, query examples, and editorial feedback. We'll talk about the whole process: researching potential agents, drafting your query letter, practicing your elevator pitch, and staying organized throughout. This class is a great fit for writers at every stage of the publishing process, whether you've been sending out queries for months with no luck or have yet to draft your first letter.
After three weeks, you'll have an edited query letter, and the tools to write good query letters in the future.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the Zoom desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Researching the agent or publication you're querying is an important part of the process, and getting your query to the right person saves you time and energy
- Query letters aren't just an introduction to your work, they're a selling tool
- Simple, natural sentences that explain the strengths of your work, and then get out of your book's way is the most effective way to get noticed
- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Week 1: Getting Started. The elevator pitch, the basic structure, different query types, this-meets-that, and some good examples
Week 2: First Draft. Using class examples, I'll explain the strengths and weaknesses of each student's query letter
Week 3: Edited Draft. One more round of edits, how to find who to query, and some tips on the agent/writer relationship
Christopher Hermelin is in his sixth year as a literary agent working and living in Brooklyn. He studied creative writing in undergrad at UC Santa Cruz and received his MFA in Fiction from the New School. He works at the Fischer-Harbage Agency, which represents nice folks who write good books. Christopher has sold and edited books in fiction, non-fiction, children's, humor and self-help.
"Christopher Hermelin is the kind of agent who knows how to take risks and make out-of-the-box book ideas sound like instant classics. His work with my book proposals made me sound more like myself than I ever thought possible."
"Christopher spoke to my Creative Writing Professionalism class about querying agents and publishing. Christopher did a wonderful job painting a picture of the process, beginning with that first draft of a manuscript, to polishing and pitching it, all the way to publishing and promoting one's writing. Even with technical difficulty on my end, Christopher was incredible, a testament to his passion for the subject and his preparation to teach the class. I cannot commend him enough as an instructor. And, he's my absolute go-to professionally, whenever I have a writing/publishing-related question."
"It’s been great to work with Christopher. He’s got excellent judgment, takes care of things in a timely and careful way, and has the fun/professional vibe perfectly tuned."
"Not only did Christopher sell my first book, he has also become a trusted voice and editor for works in progress. Christopher has been an invaluable resource to help guide me through the ins and outs of the publishing world."
"Christopher Hermelin is a wonderful agent, partner, and friend, and he was an integral part of making our book a reality. He guided us through the process of crafting a proposal, offering feedback and edits each step of the way until it was ready to be shopped to publishers. Working with Christopher not only made the process of publishing a book easy and straightforward, it made it enjoyable."
"Christopher had a great style; he was personable and made everyone feel at ease. I loved the structure of the class—especially hearing everyone's query letters aloud and his targeted feedback. It was great to get personalized suggestions for your own query as well us understand where/why others were successful."
"Christopher provided lots of great industry info but also was a master at given us constructive feedback that was pointed and also supportive. From the many writing classes I've taken, I've found that's a hard thing to do."