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.

BASIC FORMAT OF A QUERY LETTER:
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.

Date
April 10th, 2015

Header
John Doe Smith
Smith & Smith Editors
123 Main St
http://www.editors@website.com

Salutation/Greeting
Dear John Smith,

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

Conclusion
Finish with your intent or goal of the book.

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

Signature
Fanny T Crispin

BODY OF A QUERY LETTER:
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.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “30 Days to Publishing (12)”

      1. Because you and I know there is soooooooooo much more to an 80K story that simply cannot be said in a few sentences! It’s like taking one lonely sip of coffee (or tea). It simply won’t do!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And I think it speaks to our 6 second attention span. I see this compression of information as a way to fit more stuff into less time. Querying has become a necessity for agents and editors. I don’t believe it’s so great for authors.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s