If you dream of a top publisher or a wonderful agent emailing you to say “this sounds fantastic, please send me more!”

But so far, all you’ve had is radio silence no matter how often you hit ‘refresh’ on your inbox…

You need to go first…

By writing a great query letter that makes a potential publishing professional an offer that… (in the words of The Godfather) they simply cannot refuse!

So… what is it that agents and publishers want to SEE in a query letter that makes up an offer they can’t refuse?

This is something I don’t see anyone in publishing talking about.


It’s the reason I got offers and responses to many of my own query letters within hours, or days… to weeks…

…going from original pitch to offers to agent to multiple offers to signed book deal for A Letter From Paris (a memoir / biography) in 8 months!

And my first book,  the travel memoir Love & Other U-Turns, getting a request for full manuscript the same hour I sent the query.​

The secret to a great query letter – one that gets an IMMEDIATE response…?

​A query letter that gets a response is one that conveys URGENCY.

[And it all ties in with ‘loss aversion’, a psychology principle that drives us to act when we think we’ll lose something].

Because it’s not enough to summarise the story in your query…

👉Because you can share the story well

👉You can position yourself as a professional writer and one that would be a great ‘catch’ for a literary agent or publisher

👉And you can have an enticing, relevant, timely pitch…

(All quite tricky to master on their own, unless you’re really great at seeing what sells in your story)…

But unless there is a TANGIBLE and TIMELY REASON for an agent or publisher to get back to you, you will be in their collection of emails that they need to respond to (eventually), NOT at the front of the queue.

(Before I learnt this piece, I had a request for full manuscript 6 MONTHS after sending an agent a query, by which time I’d already signed with a publisher!)

Getting the story clear in your query is important, of course.

Most query letters get deleted because they don’t have a clear and compelling hook, or the book category is unclear, or there’s no comparative titles, or the genre is unclear, or the story is rambling and uninteresting…

But what people always ask me is how on earth did I get an agent when their books were closed, and publishing offers from Top 5 Publishers, within weeks to days of my email pitch (aka my query)?

It’s all about how I conveyed urgency.

Put simply: Humans prioritise the potential pain from loss over potential pleasure from gain. Weird (and annoying) but true.

Selling a book to an agent or publisher is like selling anything – the more you can understand of basic psychology principles, you’ll understand what drives people to take action. And request – or make an offer – for your book!

​​So when I presented my book (and me) in this way in my query – as in, they were potentially going to LOSE something unless they got back to me, this is how I got agents and publishers to respond.


This looked like… offers from competitive publishers.

Or media stories about to break.

Or an essay or platform element I had that would benefit them…

Or some other connection I personally had that I positioned in my pitch in order to get a response.

These were all honest, real, authentic urgency drivers. But they were absolutely essential to me hearing back within hours to days on my pitch, rather than the ‘6-12 weeks to never’ most agent and publisher websites set as an expectation.

I walk you through all of it – how to write a query, how to convey urgency, and exactly what happens behind-the-scenes when a publisher reviews your query and my own publishing deals in Write Your Memoir Query.​

The first time i shared the template inside the Write Your Memoir Query Course, I had a student hear back from a literary agent and book a meeting for the next week!

Write your memoir query course has examples from memoir and nonfiction query letters that led to book deals and publishing offers… click the image to learn more.

I love to share what happens behind the scenes in publishing, because I personally found it nigh impossible to get some authentic, honest, clear and direct advice from publishing professionals as i navigated my two traditional book deals for memoir and nonfiction.

And it directly impacts the speed and confidence you feel in the process.

Which is why I’m so open in Write Your Memoir Query about the queries that led to my two book deals.

When you join, you get immediate access to:​

👉 My own queries that led to book deals for both my published memoirs [seeing other query letters in your category is PRICELESS]

👉Walk-through edits and critiques of two different query letters from memoir writers who weren’t getting any response (names and details have been changed and they both gave permission for these to be included!)

👉 A template I’ve developed from my own query formulas that sold my books. You can plug-and-play for your query letter, so you can get the essentials in there and it won’t take you hours to update for each new submission.

👉 Author bio template so you can ensure you sound professional, present yourself effectively, and know how to position your small ‘platform’ into something enticing to an agent or editor

And a whole lot more behind-the-scenes walk-throughs and guides on how the query letter leads to a publishing offer.

You get it all – my own material, my own experiences, even book pitches that led to offers that didn’t pan out (for other reasons, like someone else wrote the book! I share a query for a biography and a nonfiction book as well as my two memoir query letters in the course).​

Writing a great query is the secret to your ‘lucky’ break in publishing. And if you can add urgency? You just might hear back tomorrow.

Learn how to write a great one in half the time inside Write Your Memoir Query course. ​