I have learned that there are at least a dozen ways to write a great query letter for a paranormal romance project. There is the query letter with the full synopsis, the one page synopsis, the paragraph synopsis, and the pitch-only query. There are many options and before I tell you what I recommend you need to decide what the best fit is for you and your genre.
If you are a paranormal romance writer, as you submit your works, you will find that there are companies out there that will ask for variations of this 'stock' letter.So take your time, do your research, but if you use the following advice you will find your work is substantially easier than if you were writing letters for each paranormal romance publisher.
Last fall I heard Junessa Viloria (of Ballantine/Random House) speak on the topic and she bluntly admitted that she, "Doesn't read [query letters]. [She] only scans them."
What does this mean for you, the paranormal romance author?
If one of the 'big six' is only scanning, you need to have the most error-free and tight letter as possible.
You need four paragraphs (or maybe five if you have met the editor or agent).
First Paragraph: Introduce your work, title, genre (paranormal romance), level of romance (for example--sweet/spicy paranormal romance--research the company you are sending to, they will give you more variations in their lines), word count, and while giving the pertinent info make sure you sound excited about your paranormal romance work. If you are bored as you write it will be apparent.
Second Paragraph: Pitch your paranormal romance novel. This should be three sentences about your book that will sell your idea without the editor/agent seeing your manuscript. This is the most difficult part of the query. In my last query, my pitch was reviewed by approximately two dozen people, I took classes on writing the pitch, and I pitched in person to see people's reactions. When I was satisfied, I finished my query letter. I recommend this approach—at least pitching in person. This is a great opportunity to see what people really think. Are they confused or unattached? Or are they excited and asking to read your paranormal romance work?
If you don't have a great pitch, your paranormal romance novel will fall flat. It doesn't matter if you write like Steinbeck or Roberts if you don't have a great 'hook,' no one will open your book.
Read as many paranormal romance pitches as you can get your hands on. What worked and what doesn't work? Would you want to read these books based on the pitch? Why or why not?
If you can't get your hands on pitches (writers are very selective on who they share them with) read paranormal romance jacket flap blurbs. These are like the pitch and they are a great place to start getting ideas.
Third Paragraph: Who are you, how did you get into writing paranormal romance? What is your background? True, some agents and editors are done reading by this point, but if their interest is piqued, they will read/scan this section.
Tell them everything as succinctly and professionally as possible. Most importantly, are you published in paranormal romance or in any other form? If you are traditionally published, make sure that you take time to mention this fact. It will get their attention. If you have won awards, taken classes, attended conferences, and/or have applicable experiences in writing you need to sell yourself here. Don't be modest. This is the only chance you may get to tell people who you are and why they should take you seriously.
Lastly: Thank them for their time. Make sure that you do this. It makes them recognize your humility and that you are a person who has respect for others—especially the recipient of the query.
Query letters are a stressful undertaking, but once you have them completed you can alter them according to your needs. Don't become overwhelmed, just do the best that you can and remember: There is no such thing as a 'perfect' query letter for paranormal romance writers. To sell your book to a paranormal romance publishing company, only two people have to like what you write, you and the editor/agent who decides they love your project.