Are you ready to woo literary agents with your romance novel query letter?
As a romance writer myself, I know how important it is to capture an agent’s attention with your pitch.
Here’s how to write a query letter for a romance novel:
Write a query letter for a romance novel by mastering the market, using a romance-themed hook, highlighting the plot and characters, and keeping it short and sweet. Mention your genre and subgenre, choose romance-themed words that connect to your title and story, and keep your query PG.
By reading this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to write a query letter for a romance novel.
13 Tips for How To Write a Query Letter for a Romance Novel
Without further ado, here are my 13 best tips for how to write a romance novel query letter:
1) Master the Market (Categories, Genres, Lines, Oh My!)
Knowing the market not only helps you position your book correctly in your query letter, but it can also help you write a better book.
Are you writing a contemporary romance, a historical romance, or a paranormal romance?
Are you targeting a specific line or imprint, like Harlequin or Avon?
Knowing the categories and genres in the romance market will help you position your book correctly in your query letter.
By understanding what readers in your genre are looking for, you can also make sure your book delivers on their expectations and stands out in a crowded market.
2) A Romance Query Is Still a Query (Use Standard Format)
While the romance genre may have its own quirks and trends, a query letter for a romance novel still follows the standard query letter format.
That means starting with a hook, introducing your book and its characters, outlining the plot, and wrapping up with your bio and any other pertinent details.
Using a standard format makes it easier for agents and publishers to read and understand your query.
It also shows that you are serious and professional.
3) Mention Your Genre AND Subgenre
As mentioned in tip #1, knowing your genre is important.
But don’t forget to mention your subgenre as well. For example, if you’re writing a paranormal romance, specify if it’s a vampire romance, a shifter romance, or a witch romance.
Additionally, if you’re writing a hybrid or cross-genre romance, make sure to explain how your book blends multiple subgenres.
4) Use a Romance-Themed Hook
Your hook should be specific to your romance novel.
It could be a play on words or a nod to a classic romance trope. For example, “Love may be a battlefield, but for Jane and John, it’s a war worth fighting.”
Your hook should not only be catchy and attention-grabbing, but it should also give a sense of the tone and style of your romance novel.
5) Romance Query Letters Are All About Love Stories (The Plot)
Romance is all about the love story, so make sure your plot is front and center in your query letter.
Outline the major conflict and how the romance develops between your two main characters. The central conflict of a romance novel is typically the romantic tension between the main characters.
Make sure to include a clear and compelling description of this conflict in your query letter.
Whether it’s a case of mistaken identity, a forbidden love affair, or a second chance at love, make sure to highlight what makes your romantic conflict unique and engaging.
That’s how to write a query letter for a romance novel.
6) But Don’t Forget About the Characters
Your characters are the heart and soul of your romance novel, and they should be given equal weight and attention in your query letter.
Make sure to showcase their personalities, motivations, and the ways in which they evolve over the course of the book.
Of course, don’t give away the ending.
Instead, focus on the first 50 pages (give or take) so that you introduce the characters without sharing too much.
7) The Bio Is Optional in a Romance Query Letter
While it’s common to include a bio in a query letter, it’s not strictly necessary for a romance novel.
If you do choose to include a bio, make sure it’s relevant to your writing and doesn’t take up too much space.
For example, if you’re writing a romance novel set in a bakery, mentioning your experience as a pastry chef could lend credibility to your writing.
8) Keep Your Romance Query PG
Romance novels can be steamy but keep your query letter PG.
Don’t include explicit details or language that could turn off a potential agent or publisher.
Keep your language clean and avoid any content that could turn off potential readers or industry professionals. Of course, depends somewhat on the specific type of story you’re telling.
But, overall, this a good rule of thumb for how to write a query letter for a romance novel.
9) Put All Your Best Stuff In Your Query Letter (Romance Is Competitive)
Romance is a competitive market, so make sure you’re putting your best foot forward in your query letter.
Agents and publishers receive countless queries every day. Make sure to showcase the unique elements of your book that will make it stand out, such as an unusual setting, a fresh take on a classic trope, or a unique voice.
Don’t save anything important for future correspondence.
10) But Leave Out Minor Stuff
Your book may have multiple layers and subplots.
It’s important to remember that your query letter should focus on the main plot and characters. Leave out any minor characters, subplots, or settings that don’t directly impact the main story.
Only include details that are essential to understanding the plot and characters, and make sure to prioritize the elements that make your book unique and compelling.
11) Differentiate Yourself With Your Romantic POV and Voice
Romance novels are a crowded market, so it’s important to showcase what makes your writing stand out.
Whether it’s your witty dialogue, your lush prose, or your ability to capture the complexities of human relationships, make sure to highlight what sets your writing apart.
Agents and publishers are always on the lookout for fresh, unique voices in the romance genre.
12) Choose Romance-Themed Words (That Also Connect To Your Title and Story)
Choosing the right words in your query letter can be the key to catching an agent’s attention and making your romance novel stand out from the crowd.
Make sure to include romance-themed words that connect to your title and story, such as “passion,” “desire,” and “love.”
These words not only give a sense of the tone and style of your romance novel, but they also help to create a memorable and evocative image in the reader’s mind.
Just make sure to avoid cliches and choose words that are specific to your story.
13) Keep It Like a Good First Kiss (Short and Sweet)
Your query letter is your first impression with agents and publishers, so make it count.
Keep your query letter concise, engaging, and easy to read. Avoid long paragraphs or unnecessary details that could bog down the pacing, and make sure your letter flows smoothly from start to finish.
Kind of like a good first kiss.
A 14th tip would be to leverage the advancement of artificial intelligence to help write your romance query letter.
I believe in this one so strongly, I even made a video where I wrote an entire and original query letter for a made-up romance novel with an AI writer. Watch it here:
Romance Query Letter Examples
When learning how to write a query letter for a romance novel, it’s imperative that you study real examples.
Therefore, here are three examples of romance query letters:
Dear [Agent’s Name],
I’m thrilled to submit my contemporary romance novel, SEASON OF LOVE, complete at 75,000 words, for your consideration. I was drawn to your agency due to your passion for heartfelt romance and strong character development.
SEASON OF LOVE is a second-chance romance that follows the journey of Charlotte and Jake, two childhood sweethearts who were separated by a tragic accident. Now, ten years later, they find themselves reunited in the small town of Maplewood, where they both have returned to start their lives anew.
As they struggle to come to terms with their past and the hurt they have caused each other, they find themselves drawn back together by the undeniable chemistry that has always existed between them. But with old wounds still fresh and secrets threatening to tear them apart once again, they must confront their past if they hope to have a future together.
With a charming small-town setting, a diverse cast of characters, and a heartfelt exploration of love, loss, and forgiveness, SEASON OF LOVE is a romance novel that is sure to captivate readers of all ages.
Thank you for considering my work. I look forward to the opportunity to share more about SEASON OF LOVE with you.
Dear [Agent’s Name],
I’m excited to submit my steamy historical romance novel, TEMPTED BY THE EARL, complete at 85,000 words, for your consideration. As someone with a passion for historical romance and strong, swoon-worthy heroes, I believe you’ll love this story.
In TEMPTED BY THE EARL, Lady Catherine Davenport is a headstrong young woman with a reputation for scandal. When she’s forced to marry the notorious Earl of Pembroke, she’s determined to make the best of a bad situation. But as she learns more about her new husband and the secrets he’s been keeping, she finds herself drawn to him in ways she never expected.
As they navigate the treacherous waters of London society and battle against their own desires, Catherine and Pembroke must confront their pasts and the obstacles that stand in the way of their future together. With passion, danger, and intrigue around every corner, TEMPTED BY THE EARL is a historical romance that is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.
I am grateful for your consideration.
Dear [Agent’s Name],
I’m thrilled to submit my contemporary sports romance novel, HEART OF THE GAME, complete at 70,000 words, for your consideration. As someone with a passion for strong, independent heroines and heroes with a heart of gold, I believe this book will be right up your alley.
In HEART OF THE GAME, professional soccer player, Emma Rodriguez, has always put her career first. But when a devastating injury forces her to take a break from the game, she finds herself back in her hometown, reconnecting with her family and trying to figure out what comes next.
Enter Will, the charming and infuriatingly sexy coach of the local soccer team. As Emma helps him turn the struggling team around, they find themselves drawn to each other in ways they never expected. But with Emma’s career on the line and Will’s own past threatening to come back to haunt him, they must decide whether their love for each other is worth risking everything.
With a strong, determined heroine, a hero who will make readers swoon, and a sports backdrop that will have readers cheering, HEART OF THE GAME is a contemporary sports romance that is sure to hit all the right notes.
I am eager to receive your response.
Final Thoughts: How To Write a Query Letter to a Romance Novel
Even with these examples, you may still have questions about how to write a romance query letter.
You might wonder about your experience level, how to make your hook really pop, and what about using AI writers to help. If that sounds like you, take a look at the articles listed below.
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