30 Days to Publishing

30 Days to Publishing (12)

Wow. We’re almost halfway through this. How are you feeling?

Me, too. Let’s get to work.

Query Letters

According to Wiki, a query letter is a formal letter sent to magazine editors, literary agents and sometimes publishing houses or companies. Writers write query letters to propose writing ideas.

Seems simple enough. Basically, you are writing a letter to entice someone to take on your project. Let’s see what that looks like in detail. You have a book, an article, and you want someone to endorse it. We will talk about where to find these people later (editors, agents, publishers), but first we need to learn how to talk to these people.

The topic of the work
A short description of the plot
A short bio of the author
The target audience

Go back to your days in school and put work into the format of a letter, even if it’s only an email. You want to sound educated, polite, and respectable. These people are running a business, and you should treat it as such as well.

April 10th, 2015

John Doe Smith
Smith & Smith Editors
123 Main St

Dear John Smith,

This is where you fill in the introduction, the hook, and the description of your book. We’ll look at that later.

Finish with your intent or goal of the book.

Cordially yours, Sincerely, Thank you for your time, etc.

Fanny T Crispin

In the body of your query letter, you want to be short but concise. First, introduce your work. Make it gripping and exciting. Ask a friend to read the introduction and judge it for you. Keep it short. These people are busy and their time is very valuable.

E.g. ‘Fire Blood’ is a curse upon mankind, and it has trickled down the bloodline to the 21st century. All her life, Jane Smith has known of the curse, but now it’s raging out of her control. When she is discovered by one of her coworkers, he urges her to uncover the source of the curse. With his help, they set out to hunt down the last of a dying breed–a dragon.

One paragraph with an enticing hook. Follow with another paragraph describing your work.

E.g. ‘Fire Blood’ is a Young Adult urban fantasy. It is 80,000 words in length and a fully completed manuscript.

Follow up with a description of your writing career, your style and genre. Again, short and to the point. A professional is just someone with a title who gets paid for it. You already have your title…

Say it, ‘I am a writer.’

…And if you work hard, you will get paid for it, too. Dream big.

You should only have three paragraphs. If the editor or agent wants you to attach a sample of your work, read their instructions carefully. Following instructions earns you brownie points.

*Now, I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will. Don’t copy and paste my examples. One, because they could be written so much better. Two, because you want your unique voice to come through the email or letter. Three, because it’s just not classy. Stay classy, friends. There’s a shortage of classy in America.

This was a difficult blog for me to write, because I freaking dislike query letters. You know what I dislike more?

Synopses. Guess what we’re studying next. Synopses.

See you tomorrow.