Lots of blogs have talked about that. I’ve probably have read them all. And one thing that annoyed me was that they all said: “Do your research and most of all make sure you send your query exactly how a particular agency wants it.”
I thought: “Come on! How hard can that be!”
Well if you’re only sending out one query at a time, which you shouldn’t do because as I’ve read, life is too short, it’s pretty easy. But if you are sending many queries than it gets a little tricky.
I’m not talking about how to address each particular agent because I find that really tricky and I can’t give any advice on that. I’m talking about the format your query and your work should take.
So the only advice I can give you, is once you’ve targeted the agents you want to send your book to, that you have made sure they are looking for new clients and you fit their list, ie don’t send a middle grade book to an agent who is only looking for women’s fiction- then read their demands very carefully.
Most will want an introduction letter, the first three chapters and a synopsis. But then that is when it gets tricky. Some will want the first 10000 words, which may or may not be your first three chapters. Some will want the first 30 pages, which again may not be three chapters.
And to make it a bit trickier, some agents will want the chapters and the synopsis in the body of the mail, some in separate attachments and some all in one attachment.
So my advice is this: Keep the site of your favourite agents on book-marks. Once you are ready to send out your query, open each-book marks and work yourself through them, reading every time again and again how this particular agent wants to receive your work. That will show at least that you’ve put the minimum effort into it.
And if an agent asks that you tell them if you’ve sent your manuscript elsewhere, just do it. It’s simple respect.
Good luck with it.