How do you go about beginning your mind-blowing Query Letter? You introduce yourself. Open your Query Letter with a personal salutation, e.g. Dear Mrs. Speilburg (etc). A to-whom-it-may-concern type of thing only tells them that you haven’t done your research, so use it only with no other choice.
After the salutation, start them off with a Sales Handle. A Sales Handle is the quick pitch of your book, and is composed of about two sentences: what I call the “Meet” and the “Greet.” The first sentence, or Meet, has all the basic information: title, word count, genre, and audience. It can also say if the novel is complete, and if it is standalone or part of a series. The first line of a Sales Handle should look something like this:
“I would like to introduce you to The Frog and the Mud, a complete 65,000-word YA murder mystery with hints of comedy and an undertone of family struggle.”
The second line of your Sales Handle should say something special about your book, which can include your main character, a one-line summary of his or her situation, etcetera—all of which should add up to your “hook.” You can also generate appeal by adding a “My book is This Meets That” descriptor, where This and That are other novels, series, authors, or films that both bear a similarity to your book. Example second line:
“A standalone novel about family pranks gone wrong, The Frog and the Mud explores what might happen if Dr. Seuss met The Glass Castle.”
By doing this, you give the agent two successful and recognizable things to associate with your book. What a great way to introduce them to your Synopsis!
– Frustrated Intern