Catch a Literary Agent’s Interest with Your Query and First Pages

Suzie Townsend
If you want to get a literary agent, you have to hook them quickly with your submission materials. The two most critical items during your initial agent first impression are the all-important query letter and first pages of your story. This workshop will teach you how to create an amazing agent submission and provide an opportunity to receive personalized feedback from Suzie on the first five pages of your draft manuscript or proposal.
This is a single-session event.
This event has
Suzie Townsend

Upcoming dates

No events currently scheduled
Our events are recorded. Non-downloadable, password-protected recordings are shared only with ticket holders.
Let us know
when you’d like to see
when you’d like to see
Suzie Townsend
host this event.

Past dates

Apr 6 & Apr 13
Apr 6 & Apr 13
5pm PT / 8pm ET
60 min
May 4 & May 11
May 4 & May 11
5pm PT / 8pm ET
60 min
Jun 1 & Jun 8
Jun 1 & Jun 8
5pm PT / 8pm ET
60 min


Writing a strong query letter requires a great hook and clear premise. The first sentence should immediately catch the reader’s attention, while the ending should leave the reader wanting to dive into the pages of the manuscript. Your first pages should work similarly—you want the person reading to find it absolutely unputdownable. But this takes practice, patience, and an eye for detail. Which is why we’re here: to discuss what to do and not to do and to make your query and first pages as stand-out as possible.


Suzie Townsend is a literary agent at New Leaf Literary & Media and represents NYT bestselling and award-winning novelists. She’ll help you understand what information prospective authors need to grab an agent’s attention and stand out in the “slush pile.” She’ll also help you weigh all of your options before choosing an agent. This workshop will take place over two, 60-minute sessions. Each session will include instruction from Suzie followed by Q&A.



Tips on writing the most effective query

  • How to hook your reader with your query pitch
  • How each part of the query (intro, pitch, bio) works together
  • What information to include--and leave out of--your query
  • How to effectively use comparative titles
  • Common querying mistakes and how to avoid them

Tips on writing strong first pages

  • What works best in the first pages of a manuscript and what doesn’t
  • Common first pages mistakes and how to avoid them
  • What plot points to introduce right away vs. which to allow to unfold more slowly

Tips on the actual querying process

  • How many agents you should be querying at a time
  • What to do if you don’t get any manuscript requests
  • Common mistakes to avoid

Key querying resources and revising resources


After the second session, participants will be invited to submit the first five pages of a manuscript or proposal for critique by Suzie.  She will provide feedback to each person in the form of a marked-up manuscript or proposal and a brief feedback letter.

Report this event

What to expect

This event is perfect for anyone age 15+ who wants to write and publish a novel. Suzie invites anyone in the following position to join: 


  • People who have an idea and want to write a book but don’t know where to start
  • Writers who struggle from idea promiscuity and really need to finish their book
  • Writers who are stuck or suffering from the dreaded Writers’ Block
  • Writers who have finished their manuscript and are wondering what to do next
  • Aspiring writers beginning the query process
  • Writers who have not yet been successful in querying and need some guidance
  • Readers or reviewers who are thinking about writing a novel
  • Librarians or teachers who are thinking about writing a novel
  • Anyone wanting to brush up on their querying strategy
  • Writers who want to learn about industry resources