The parts I enjoyed the most were John Woods examples of the emotional delivery of a pitch. Below are a few exampl This book turns 10 years old this year but still had some good relevant information that I added to my personal notes on publication. Below are a few examples. The query is like a movie poster to generate interest. The synopsis in the movie trailer to generate anticipation, excitement, and sales.
Set in the early 60s, Juke Joint is a young adult novel of a boy finding his own path in a turbulent time. Jake and Belinda are strong characters whose growing friendship flies in the face of the conventions of their small Southern town. Not just a romance or a problem novel, Juke Joint explores the issues of racism and family loyalty against a setting of church socials and midnight drag racing, gospel and rhythm and blues.
I would be happy to send the manuscript to you for consideration and have enclosed a reply card for your convenience. Sincerely, A. Writer A fiction query letter might be the toughest kind to write. It should be short, but contain enough of the sense of the story and your writing style to catch the attention of an editor. Since so much of fiction is a matter of taste, the letter needs to be targeted carefully.
Think about what sort of copy entices you to check out a book by an author you have never read before. Sometimes including an excerpt from the manuscript can be a good approach--for example the beginning paragraph if you have a good hook. Query letters for fiction are worth a bit of angst and extra polishing. Reading a novel requires a larger investment of time on the editor's part, so the query letter must be targeted very carefully.
Don't send a serious issue book to a house that does only series romances. Sample Query Letter 2: Nonfiction Dear Editor: Do you know what an Egyptian mummy, a samurai soldier, and your pair of sneakers have in common? Different kinds of glue affect all parts of our lives, from kid's projects with library paste to the rubber industry to post-it notes.
Glue helps hold together our houses, our cars, even our shoes. Sticking Together combines history, science, and hands-on activities. My opening chapter explores the role of rubber cement in the colonization of the New World and explains the production process from tapping the tree to shipping the bottles to the art supply store.
The final chapter includes recipes for homemade glue products and projects. My background in anthropology gives me grounding in exploring the ways that a seemingly small thing like glue can affect an entire culture. Written for 7 to 10 year-olds, Sticking Together fits in with your series of excellent children's nonfiction "The Way the World Works", with a format similar to Hold Everything: Containers from Pots to Plastic. The proposal includes a complete outline for the book and three sample chapters.
A reply card is enclosed and I hope to hear of your interest in Sticking Together. Writer A book on the history of glue might not ring your chimes, but to an editor who has published a book about containers this project would be worth a look.
Cover and query letters are important. They are part of doing your homework, of presenting yourself to a prospective publisher in a professional manner. Experience helps, but lack of experience will not immediately disqualify you.
Under no circumstances should you include information about your personal life unless such information is pertinent to selling the book.
A SASE is most often used to send a form rejection letter back to the author. If interested, an editor will contact you immediately by phone or email. It should be perfect. You can certainly spend a few hours perfecting your query letter. Now you have to present it to the editor in the correct fashion or else risk being dismissed as an amateur.
If you have a letterhead, use it. Anything that detracts from the substance of your letter could trigger a rejection. When it comes time to mail your letter, use FedEx. This serves two purposes. Second, and most importantly, it gets opened.
Come on, you have something positive you can add. Have you published any thing, been writing for ten years, are you a member of RWA, part of a critique group, placed in a writing contest? Anything good at all you can add, to give you a little glow is perfect for here, like if your story has a heroine who is a nurse, and guess what, you are a nurse.
Some things that will probably get your query tossed on this part is if you add something like I know you will think this is the very best book you have ever read! My mom and sister both loved this story so much, they said it just has to be published and should sell millions of copies!
Or how about How much will I be paid for this, and when will the check get here? So you see, that query letter, only a single page long, that most of us just hate to write, can tell an editor or agent everything she needs to know about you and your manuscript -- at least every thing she needs to know to decide if she should bother with reading chapter one.Be honest and straightforward. After all, who remembers the wrapping on the best present ever? The parts I enjoyed the most were John Woods examples of the emotional delivery of a pitch. That's it. My opening chapter explores the role of rubber cement in the colonization of the New World and explains the production process from tapping the tree to shipping the bottles to the art supply store. The history of a kid is one part fact, two parts legend and three parts snowball. The proposal includes a complete outline for the book. If you have limited experience, say so. As soon as I have some, I will send. If you have a letterhead, use it.
Nothing really new here but it was a nice validation of the advise I'd read in the Writers Market and online research. Either one will capture instant attention. He also begins to question why some customers are treated differently, especially in the black sections of town. There was e-mail in , but the most high-tech this book gets is an occasional reference to faxing when time is short.
With the encouragement of my dear family, I finally wrote them down and collected them into a book. There are so many choices: To Whom It May Concern -- Polite, but it has overtones of "Please take care of my baby left here on your doorstep.
John Wood offers "10 Query Commandments" and "10 Query Sins" which can help aid the author in saying the right thing the right way. Come on, you have something positive you can add. Not only do you have to write a wonderful book, but also a wonderful query letter that will tempt an editor into requesting your manuscript. Present facts about your work, not opinions. Sample Query Letter 2: Nonfiction Dear Editor: Do you know what an Egyptian mummy, a samurai soldier, and your pair of sneakers have in common?
Or how about Point 3: Your Opening Especially the First Sentence The first paragraph of your query letter should get right to the point.
Dear Sir or Madam -- While admirably including both genders, this one sounds like Jeeves addressing a drag queen who hadn't quite finished hormone therapy. See sidebar back 2 Telling stories to your family is a fine tradition, but not very informative. Thank you for your time and attention. They are part of doing your homework, of presenting yourself to a prospective publisher in a professional manner. It's not always possible to find out the name of the person reading submissions at a particular house.
What I want--and need--most is a book that discusses how to handle e-mail queries and cover letters. Second, and most importantly, it gets opened. Are your thoughts clear, your writing tight? Think of this as being the blurb on the back of a novel.