Query Letters

Sincerely Yours

What You Need to Know Before You Contact an Agent


Before you send a query letter to a literary agent, there are some things that you should know.


You are not really typing a letter -- you are sending an email. In the old days they would tell you that your query letter should be a page or a page and a half at the most. Agents no longer want or read snail mail. The days when you had to think about whether or not to spend a few extra dollars on quality paper are long gone. Bond paper or linen? White or ivory?


When you are typing an email, you have to think in terms of word count. A one page letter is about 300 words. 





Sincerely Yours

What You Need to Know Before You Contact an Agent

Clarissa , or, the History of a Young Lady

by Samuel Richardson

1,534 pages  ≈≈≈  984,870 words

Published in 1748, Samuel Richardson's is a great example of an epistolary novel - one written as a series of documents such as letters or diary entries. 

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

1,440 pages  ≈≈≈  587,287 

New American Library Version



The Green Angel Tower

by Tad Williams

1,083 pages, hardcover  ≈≈≈  5,200 words

To Green Angel Tower is the third and final novel in Tad WilliamsMemory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy. At over 520,000 words,[1] it is one of the longest novels ever written. Due to the length of the novel, the paperback version had to be split into two separate volumes, known as To Green Angel Tower: Part 1 and Part 2. In the United Kingdom, the two paperback volumes were titled To Green Angel Tower: Siege and To Green Angel Tower: Storm. The saga follows a young man named Simon as he is caught up in an epic adventure.The book was listed for five weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.[4]


by Alan Moore

1,266 pages   ≈≈≈ 600,000 words

The Suitable Boy

by Vikram Seth

1,368 pages ≈≈≈ 593,674

Remembrance of Things Past

by Parcel Proust

13,031 pages  ≈≈≈  1,267,069 words

Yes, the real title is In Search of Lost Time,

ated the longest novel ever by the Guinness Book of World Records, there's no doubt that Proust's masterpiece could quite easily double up as a mightily effective doorstop, with 13 volumes clocking up nearly 1.3 million words. Its theme of involuntary memory is repeated through the course of following the narrator's life, from childhood to adulthood. Published between 1913 and 1927, it had a profound influence on many works that were to follow in the 20th Century; it's considered the definitive modern novel by many leading scholars. So, to summarise: really long, but really good.

Atlas Shrugged

by Ayn Rand

1088 pages   ≈≈≈ 645,000 words


The Infinite Jest

by David Foster Wallace

1,104 pages  ≈≈≈ 543,709

Infinite Jest is a 1996 novel 

The novel is widely noted for its unconventional narrative structure (modeled after the Sierpinski gasket[1]) and its experimental use of endnotes. It has been categorized as an encyclopedic novel[2] and made Time magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005.[3]

Infinite Jest is a literary bestseller, having sold 44,000 copies by the end of its first year of publication.[4] By 2016, its worldwide sales had exceeded one million copies.[5]

The novel's gestation period was long. Wallace began Infinite Jest, "or something like it", at various times between 1986 and 1989. His efforts in 1991–92 were more productive.[6] The book was edited by publisher Little, Brown and Company's Michael Pietsch, who has recalled cutting about 250 manuscript pages.[7]

The novel's title is from Hamlet, Act V, Scene 1, in which Hamlet holds the skull of the court jester, Yorick, and says, "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!"[8] Wallace's working title for Infinite Jest was A Failed Entertainment.[9]

In the novel's future world, the United StatesCanada, and Mexico together compose a unified North American superstate known as the Organization of North American Nations, or O.N.A.N. (an allusion to onanism).[10]

Corporations are allowed the opportunity to bid for and purchase naming rights for each calendar year, replacing traditional numerical designations with ostensibly honorary monikers bearing corporate names. Although the narrative is fragmented and spans several "named" years, most of the story takes place during "The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment" (Y.D.A.U.).

On the orders of U.S. President Johnny Gentle (a "clean freak" who campaigned on the platform of cleaning up the USA while ensuring that no American would be caused any discomfort in the process), much of what used to be the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada has become a giant hazardous waste dump, an area "given" to Canada and known as the "Great Concavity" by Americans due to the resulting displacement of the border.