ARE YOU READY TO QUERY

Let’s find out. Are you passionate about your book? Do you believe thoroughly in its message? Are you enthusiastic? Yes to all three takes us to the next step. If you have a no, then perhaps you need another rewrite.

Remember, you are wanting your book to have many readers, but this agent or editor to whom you are pitching that book is, effectively, your first reader. If it fails there, it never reaches others.
First the basics, some of which you may already know: Never write a query letter longer than one page. No crowding, either. Margins all around, 12 pt font. Make sure there are no typos. Leave out that first sentence that begins with something wise, like Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries. Don’t send photocopied letters with no salutation. Don’t make claims like my book will appeal to all women (or men or seniors) Be more specific than that. Remember, a novel is, by definition, a work of fiction so don’t refer to it as a fiction novel; nonfiction is a book. Make sure you refer to them properly.
Okay, now to some specifics. Don’t begin with you, begin with a hook about your book, including the title, the genre, its length and the hook in one brief sentence. You have to make the editor or agent read on, and that’s not done with dramatic prose, but with a brief but unique statement that hooks them. You may then describe the theme of the book including characters in two or three short sentences.
In the next paragraph is your bio. Briefly tell of writing courses, publications and awards, but don’t include minor publications or awards. If you’ve never been published, then don’t bring it up at all.
Last paragraph: Thanks for your time. I’ve enclosed a SASE and am looking forward to hearing from you. Then sign off.
Most of all, don’t waste their time being cute. If you write humor, then you can approach the letter with a bit of your humor, but it better relate to the book in some way. Be sure your letter head or signature line includes your telephone number and email address. That’s enough.
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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in creative nonfiction, fiction, hooks, query letter, Velda Brotherton, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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