There are lots of stellar posts out there on query basics, like this one from agent-turned-author Nathan Bransford. (Nathan's blog is a HUGE source of guidance on all things publishing. Highly recommended for writers.)
Kristin Nelson of The Nelson Agency also has great tips on her blog. Plus she made this fantastic video: 2 Quick and Dirty Tips on Writing Query Letters:
And the number one query resource IMHO? Queryshark by the sharky Janet Reid. HER BLOG IS AWESOME. She dissects query letters like nobody else, and her comments are query gold.
I'm no query expect, but here's my take: follow the rules (one page only, personalize for each agent, follow the agent's query guidelines, be professional and polite) but don't obsess. Because in the end, it's the hook and sharp writing that works. :) In case you're curious, my query for NIL (at least the heart of it) is on the Books page of my blog.
How's your query coming along? Been re-worked a dozen *cough* hundred *cough* times? Yup, been there. :)
If you need a fresh set of eyes, leave a comment below. I'll critique queries from the first three commenters who post. It will be public, like the awesome Mindy McGinnis's Saturday Slashes.
Here's the plan: if you're one of the first three to comment AND you want a query crit, shoot me your query by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll email you back to let you know which day it's going up on the blog. My plan is to post the three crits over the next three days. :) If you don't want a crit, no worries, and I'll drop to the next person on the comment list. :)
Query on! You CAN do it. :)
**As of Thursday, Sept. 13 at 2:30 pm, the query crit contest is closed. :) The three queries will be up on the blog over the next few days. Thanks for the comments y'all! Happy writing...