One moment please...

Can I Hook You on My Book? - Finding an Agent & Writing the Query

This workshop draws on industry research and interviews with four literary agents to provide current advice about the query letter, which is really a genre all its own. Even for established writers, it is a challenge to take a book of 80,000 to 100,000 words that we know and love and not only distill it down to fewer than 300 words but to go “meta” on it in a way that will entice an agent. Like a good novel, the effective query letter both tells and shows that you and your manuscript are ready to be represented. The workshop begins with a discussion of how to find agents to query. Then, we break the query letter into four parts—(1) shape the hook, (2) pitch the book, (3) pitch you, and (4) KISS at the close—and review examples of both poorly crafted elements and more effective ones. The presentation includes “rules of thumb” to help writers avoid pitfalls as well as “instant turnoffs”—elements that cause an agent to set aside the letter.

Instructor: Karen Odden received her Ph.D. in English literature from New York University, writing her dissertation on Victorian literature. She subsequently taught at the UW-Milwaukee and edited and wrote for academic journals before turning to fiction, which she always sets in 1870s London. Her first mystery, A Lady in the Smoke (2016), was a USA Today bestseller, and A Dangerous Duet (2018) and A Trace of Deceit (2019) won awards for historical fiction. Down a Dark River (2021), an Oprah daily pick, introduces readers to Inspector Michael Corravan, a former thief and bare-knuckles boxer. The sequel, Under a Veiled Moon (2022) was nominated for the Agatha, Lefty, and Anthony awards for Best Historical Mystery. Karen serves on the national board for Sisters in Crime and lives in Arizona, where she loves to hike the Sonoran Desert.


Details: Can I Hook You on My Book? - Finding an Agent & Writing the Query takes place Thursday April 4 from 6:30-8:30pm remotely online via Zoom. 

Prerequisite: None

Genre: The business of writing

Level: All levels

Format: Craft talk with workshop elements

Location: This class takes place remotely online via Zoom.

Size: Limited to 35 participants

Scholarships: Two scholarship spots are available for this class for writers in Northeast Ohio. Apply by December 11.

Cancellations & Refunds: Cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the first class meeting to receive a full refund. Email


Contact Information - Required


Voluntary Demographic Information

NEW: As part of our ongoing efforts to make programs and classes more inclusive and accessible, we are now collecting voluntary demographic information during the registration process. The following information is entirely voluntary and will remain anonymous. It will only be used in aggregate to assess and improve services and inclusive practices to ensure we are serving our entire community equitably. Thank you!

(Select one or more)