Query Letter Master Class with Jane Friedman

Query Letter Master Class with Jane Friedman. $79 workshop. Wednesday June 29, 2022. 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern.

Learn the best practices of query writing (in any genre), get personalized feedback, and submit your work with confidence.

The query letter has one purpose, and one purpose only: to seduce the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. The query letter is so much of a sales piece that it’s possible to write one without having written a word of the manuscript. All it requires is a firm grasp of the story premise (in the case of a narrative) or the sales hook (for nonfiction).

Every query has two components that affect agent or editor response:

  1. The book’s premise/hook and the appeal of that premise/hook in the current market (which is ever changing).
  2. How compellingly you have packaged or described that premise/hook in about 200-400 words.

This critique and master class will directly help you with the second issue, as well as offer methods of determining whether the first issue might be a problem. Jane has edited more than 5,000 query letters during her career and has literally seen it all. Her industry experience gives her exceptional insight into what agents and editors see all the time, and what will or will not be memorable.

What’s included in this master class

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Query Letter Critique

SOLD OUT (limited to 100 registrants)

Students may submit one query letter (up to 600 words) for guaranteed edit and feedback. This opportunity is limited to 100 writers.

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2-hour live class on query letters

The class took place on June 29, 2022

A live class and workshop event was held on Zoom on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, from 1 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern. Afterward, registrants get access to the recording, slides, transcript—plus answers to questions asked during the live event.

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Recorded lecture: how to write a synopsis

Available immediately upon registration

You’ll receive access to Jane’s 90-minute class (video recording) on how to write and edit an effective synopsis. Sometimes agents ask for a synopsis in addition to the query.

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Recorded lecture: how to research agents and editors

Available immediately upon registration

You’ll also receive access to Jane’s recorded class on how to research agents and editors for your project.

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Examples of strong query letters

Available immediately upon registration

You’ll be provided with multiple examples of strong queries, some of which have secured agents and publishing deals.

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Access to a private Facebook group

Available immediately upon registration

You’ll be invited to join other students to discuss your submissions and assist each other. Jane is an active moderator.

How the query critique works

After you register for the class, you are welcome to submit your query letter for critique. You can submit up to one letter (600-word maximum), either in a Word or Pages document.

This option is limited to 100 students (SOLD OUT).

  • If you choose to submit your query before the live class: Jane may use your query as an example during the session. (Full author names are not disclosed.) If you prefer your letter not be used as part of this session, you’ll have a chance to let us know when you submit the query.
  • If you choose to submit your query after the live class: You must submit the query no later than July 8, 2022, one week after the live class ends. Critiques are not guaranteed if your query is received after this date.
  • When and how you will receive feedback: About one month after the live class, all students will receive edits and feedback on their query using Track Changes in Word or Pages. This critique will arrive directly and privately via email.
  • If you don’t want a critique: You can register for the class at a reduced rate of $79.

Important terms and conditions about the critique

  • Only one query version can be submitted for critique, and it can only be submitted once. (You cannot replace/resubmit it, or send a revision.)
  • Queries must be submitted no later than July 8, 2022, to receive a critique.
  • This critique opportunity does not include second or additional rounds of feedback. If you need further assistance with your query, Jane offers a resource list of trusted editors you can hire.
  • Information and advice about how to handle comparable titles, how to open the query, how to close the query, what author bio information to include (and more) will be covered during the live class. In her critique, Jane will reference additional resource materials so you understand how to further revise or improve the query.

The reality check: Even the best critique cannot remedy a lackluster or problematic story premise. But a good query edit can help emphasize a work’s strengths and attempt to minimize its weaknesses. The agent or editor has to be intrigued by the story idea and characters, and that comes from you, the writer.

Who should register for this course

  • Anyone preparing to pitch their work to agents or editors
  • Novelists in any genre
  • Memoirists
  • Nonfiction authors (any category)
  • Creative writing students and graduates of MFA programs

About the instructor

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest and has presented query letter workshops at conferences nationwide.

Jane is the author of The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers”; it also received a starred review from Library Journal.

In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at JaneFriedman.com; her expertise has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, PBS, CBS, the National Press Club and many other outlets.

The query you edited earned me a request for a full read last week which resulted in an offer this week! I’ve secured representation with Trident Media Group.

Gale Massey


I can’t thank you enough. Of all the critiques and edits I’ve had in the past—and there have been tons—your methods are the most impressive. Your work is professional and excellent.

Marlene Bell


Your input and experienced eye has been enormously helpful in getting me out of the storyteller mode and into a pitch mode.

Stephen Foehr


Every registered student receives the following:

  • Access to Jane’s live two-hour class on query letters. The Zoom-based event was held on June 29, 2022 at 1 p.m. EDT.
  • Rough transcript of the live class. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.
  • Presentation slides. All students can download a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Query letter critique ($149 level) within one month after the live class (SOLD OUT). Whether you attend the live class or not, you will receive query letter edits if you submit a query within one week of the live class. Jane uses Track Changes in Word (or Pages) to make suggested edits, with comments as needed on how to improve the query. Jane will fix as much as she can on her own, but she isn’t always able to edit a query so that it’s submission ready. She will offer a clear verdict on whether the query is ready to be submitted, or if more work needs to be done.
  • Supplemental lectures on synopsis writing and agent/editor research. You’ll immediately receive access to self-study lectures to help you write and edit a synopsis, and how to perform agent or editor research.
  • Strong query letter examples. You’ll have access to a library of query letters that demonstrate best practices and serve as models to follow.
  • Access to a private Facebook group. You’ll be granted access to a private Facebook group to discuss your query letter and submissions journey and help each other. Jane moderates and checks in regularly.

What writers say about Jane’s query critiques

Thank you for helping me with the query that got me Chip MacGregor as an agent. Now the book, Al Shabah, is releasing. Not bad for a debut author from a small town in Lebanon. You are the best coach in the business.

A.E. Sawan

Just wanted to share the good news that my book, Running with Raven, came out today from Kensington Press. Thanks for your guidance in getting me here.

Laura Lee Huttenbach

Jane’s expertise was invaluable. Her knowledge and patience made the process not only a great learning experience, but a pleasurable one also.

Francisco Molina

Jane’s edits were easily explained and understood. It was the best money I’ve spent in a long while and I received my first ever positive response not 90 minutes after hitting send on a query email.

Ken Harris

I now think of Jane as the Ferrari of editors—a true pro. She’s a crisp and succinct coach.

Rich Turgeon

Jane provided clear and concise insights into the world of publishing, offering invaluable knowledge, specifically pertaining to the submissions process. Working with Jane is a no-brainer for any writer looking to get published.

Greg Labe

Thank you so very much for your expertise in revising and finesse in polishing the query. It would not be the same without your input.

Linda Noble

I’ve reviewed the edits and you have done a great job. My wife (and best critic) agrees! You shortened it while preserving the critical parts.

Richard Coico

The query is 100% clearer and right to the point now. I learned a lot about writing a query letter from your lecture from the Great Courses. It prompted me to seek out your help with my query letter. I’m so glad I did, you’re a genius.

Ariana Fae

After months of querying and rejection, I sought Jane’s help. She helped me to root out the elements of my submission materials that agents and publishers wanted to see. Within a week, one of my top-choice agencies contacted me requesting pages.

Ted Wesenberg


Thanks so much for your work. Your ability to take what I sent you and turn it in to a quality query letter is simply amazing.

Stephen Terrell


Jane, thank you for everything. You made a meaningful difference in what I’m sending out. Really, your help was invaluable.

Tom King