Query Guidelines

QUERY GUIDELINES

Thank you for your interest in querying The Zack Company, Inc. Please use the following guidelines to prepare your query:

We’re pleased to announce that TZC is now accepting queries via our new eQuery form.  Please read what we have to say below and then use the eQuery form to send us your query.

That said, if you prefer to send us a paper query in the regular mail, here are some tips:

One- to two-page queries are preferred. (Please visit our How to Write a Query Letter (courtesy of The Writer magazine) article—please note this is a PDF file and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it—for more information.)

Things You Can Do (or Not Do) to Make Your Paper Query Better

Please include a #10 self-addressed, stamped envelope (self-sealing is appreciated) for reply.*  If you live outside of the United States, please use the eQuery form.  If you must send us a printed query, be sure to include an email address for a response.

  • Please do date your query.
  • Please include your name and complete return address on your query letter at the top of the letter.
  • Go to www.usps.com and put your address in. Use what comes back as your address on your query and return address, because no matter what you think your address is, the USPS only cares about the one in its database. This will help your mail get to you faster.
  • If your query goes longer than one page, staple the pages together.
  • Don’t use type smaller than 12 points.
  • Please don’t use fancy fonts or formatting. It’s the writing that counts.
  • Please use one-inch margins all around.
  • Don’t send your query in anything bigger than a #10 or #11 envelope.

How Long Will It Take Us to Read Your Query Letter

Well, if we aren’t interested, you will usually hear from us within a week or two. However, generally speaking, we will not respond positively to a query letter requesting materials unless we are relatively sure that we will be able to review those materials in a timely manner. Thus, we may be interested, but holding onto your query because we have a lot of works on hand to review.

If We Respond Positively to Your Query Letter

When we respond positively to a query letter, we generally request one sample chapter (not to exceed twenty-five pages) and a detailed synopsis (not to exceed five pages, double-spaced). Please do not send us any sample chapters unless and until we request them. A sample chapter and a synopsis allow us to accurately evaluate your writing and your story line. Please include a self-addressed, stamped #10 envelope for a response, just in case the material isn’t right for us. Because of increased security by the US Postal Service, we cannot put anything over thirteen ounces and bearing stamps in a mailbox. Since we request such a small amount of material, we will respond in the #10 envelope and recycle the rest.

Full manuscripts should only be sent upon request by the agency and must be sent electronically.  You will be provided an email address in our request.

For information on preparing your manuscript, please visit the Manuscript Preparation Guidelines page. For a guide to the book proposal for a nonfiction work please visit the Basic Guide to the Book Proposal page.

In no event can The Zack Company, Inc. be held responsible for returning any materials.

No material should be sent overnight. We are aware that submitting material to agencies can be an expensive and at times frustrating process. Therefore, we will make every effort to read material promptly. You should know, though, that the agency handles almost fifty current clients and their needs come first. Thus, it can easily be some time before we reply to a full manuscript

Again, thank you very much for your interest in submitting to The Zack Company, Inc.

Andrew Zack
The Zack Company, Inc.
PMB 525
4653 Carmel Mountain Rd, Ste 308
San Diego, CA 92130-6650

Is There a Way to Follow-up on my Query Letter or Submission?

No, but when you query us via email, you will be added to our mailing list to receive updates on where we are with our reading.  If you don’t want the updates, just unsubscribe when you get the first one.  If we request materials from you and you are worried about whether or not we will get it, the US Postal Service has inexpensive tracking options.

Geez, You Sure Are Picky About These Guidelines

Very true. And we wish we didn’t have to be. Unfortunately, it often seems that everyone who owns Microsoft Word or WordPerfect, or a typewriter, or a pen and paper, is writing a book. And they are querying us about them! So, to save our own sanity and leave us time for our lives, families, eating, drinking (lots and lots of drinking!) and sleeping, we had to come up with a system and some guidelines. After going through thousands and thousands of queries and submissions, we’ve discovered some common denominators that work for us. And we really, really appreciate your following these guidelines!

Some notes on filling in the form below:

  • Please use proper formatting when filling out the form below, e.g., do not put your name and address in all lowercase.
  • Please put only your first and last name in the Name field.  If you are “writing as” another name, put that in the  About the Author field, as well as any titles or ranks.
  • Please put dashes in your phone number, e.g., 000-000-0000.
  • Please do not paste in the first chapter of your book in the Description field (yes, some people have done that).
  • By submitting your query to us, you are opting in to receiving query and submission updates via email from us, as well as other news and writing tips from The Zack Company, Inc.
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