Sometimes query letters have references to other works. According to a literary agent’s assistant at (blog is now defunct), about half of the queries that they’d selected for manuscript request this week have a line that says something like, based on your representation of such-and-such book OR interest in such-and-such genre, I thought you may be interested in my book XYZ.

She’d also seen the tactic where the author says, My book XYZ is similar in the themes of love and forgiveness in such-and-such book.

After a discussion with their in-house editor this is what she had to say: Mentioning a the work of an agent’s client is 1)flattering and 2)let’s them know you’ve put some thought into selecting them as an agent to query. Comparing your book in tone or theme or culture to another book gives the agency some sort of idea on your writing style.

Audio File: References in Queries – (An Unleaded, Fuel for Writers Podcast)

About the author

DayAlMohamed Day Al-Mohamed is author of the Young Adult novel, “Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn.” She is also co-editor for the anthology, “Trust & Treachery” from Dark Quest Books. In addition to speculative fiction, she also writes comics and film scripts. She is an active member of the Cat Vacuuming Society of Northern Virginia Writing Group, of Women in Film and Video, and a graduate of the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop.