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Writing Books/E-mail Queries


I was just wondering how the format for e-mail queries is different from mail queries, if there is any difference?

Hi, Brandon!

E-queries tend to be left justified---that is, there are no tabs at the beginning of paragraphs because many email/webmail servers can't handle style formatting. Likewise, if you choose to use HTML formatting so you can use italics or bold, the agent/editor might get some weird conversions, depending on their computing platform (PC, Mac, Linux). It's best to keep it simple. Simple single spacing with a double space between paragraphs. Little, if any, formatting, but all the same data inside, as if you had mailed it.

If the agent/editor requests a sample, such as the first five pages to be included with the query, it should be placed in the BODY of the email, not as an attachment. I tend to drop several lines below my signature, add a row of ******, drop down again and type "Sample of Manuscript "MYBESTBOOK [title]". Emails with attachments are often deleted before they ever wind up in the person's box. Again, simple formatting. Don't worry about italics, or, if you use them a lot, mention in the query that you're sending it as Plain Text for now, but italics will be added in a mailed/attached sample.

That's about it. Make sure you still include your snail mail address, telephone number and NAME. Too often, people expect that just because it was sent by email that it's how the agent will reply. Not always, so be safe by including as much information as possible.

Good luck! :)


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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