Nadia Cornier wrote a humerous but spot on post about query letters. This holds true when writing to either potential editors or agents.
And for the record, I was nodding so hard while I read this part that I probably looked like a demented bobblehead doll:
2) Do not tell your “buyer” what to think (Please, Please, PLEASE))
I hate this more than I hate anything else in the entire world.
I’m not stupid. I’m neither blind nor without taste (unless you ask Caren, she seems to think there is something wrong with my wardrobe…), but for the most part, I can and still do form my own opinions about writing. They may be “right” or not, but they are still MY opinions. Please please please don’t tell me what to think.
“This is the best book ever.” (screw you, I just finished reading The Time Traveller’s Wife and I thought THAT was the best book ever)
“You will LOVE this project.” (uh huh)
“It’s very funny and amazingly witty.” (I’m so glad you have a good idea of what my sense of humor is like. If it isn’t hilarious within the first five pages….)
Simply, let the writing speak for itself. If it is the best book ever, trust me (and your readers) to identify that and think to themselves, “Wow, this is the best book ever!!!” I promise, if it is – i will think it.
Truthfully, I rarely tell people they’re going to “love” a book, even those who are closest to me and whose reading tastes I know fairly well. How can a random stranger presume to know that I’ll love their book? I believe in projecting confidence, but as Nadia says, project it in other ways.
Anyhow, go read for yourself if you’re wondering at all how to even begin to write an effective query letter.