One thing I haven’t yet mentioned in my posts about querying agents and signing with one is that my method of identifying agents to query meant I ended up with a list of agents who were almost exclusively American. I don’t really know why this happened. (I mean … apart from the American cultural hegemony … but it’s not like the British are wilting flowers either when it comes to cultural hegemony. I ought to know! Plus I actually live in Britain.) Anyway, it’s a bit odd in retrospect. If you live in Britain you should consider querying British agents because I know a couple and they are great and I wish I’d given them the chance to reject me!
I mention this because US and UK queries have a slightly different format. You should pay attention to the specific agent/agency’s submission guidelines anyway, as they will all differ a little bit, but generally speaking, in the US agents just want to see a query letter plus synopsis, and they will decide whether they want to read a sample of the actual book based on that. In the UK you’re usually asked to send in an excerpt of the book with your query, so the agent gets a look at your fiction upfront.
My query to my agent was US-style, so I just sent the following email to her address on the agency website.
(Aw yeah I’m going to get to do a DVD COMMENTARY! I love doing DVD commentaries of my own things.)