I always thought the description in a query letter should explain the premise and stakes, but not give away twists or the ending, and that the synopsis was the place to include those things. Today, I saw an agent telling writers that a spoiler-free query isn’t helpful, and that agents want to see the plot outline in the query letter itself. Should I change my query letters to outline the plot?
By some chance was that an agent based in the UK?
I've heard tell that our Across the Pond Duckies like to see the full plot in a query.
Unless otherwised noted, a query contains only the first act (at most) of a book. It gives us a sense of where things change for Our Guyz, and what's at stake. No twists, no endings. No spoilers.
Every time you see advice that makes you question something you've learned here, take a look at who's offering it up. UK and US agents do have different expectations. And some agents are just wrong. And some agents mistake their personal preferences for industry standards.
Some agents like to hear effusive compliments. The rest of us are ok with just hearing about a good book you'd like us to sell.
I've ranted and raved enough about how I think personalization is a waste of your time but this is the exception. If an agent says she wants the whole kiss and canoodle in the query, well, ok, there ya go.
Social media can be a great way to learn tips for effective querying, but don't believe everything you see.