Writing The Query Letter
The query letter is simply a business letter that serves a dual
purpose. It is an introduction of you to an agent, and an inquiry
as to whether the agent would be interested in seeing a particular
piece of your work. The query letter is the first "picture" an agent
will have of you and your work; and is perhaps your strongest
Why the query letter? Basically it serves to save time. Agents and
publishers simply do not have the time to read unsolicited manuscripts,
and it is certainly a waste of your time (and money) to make copies and
send manuscripts out to numerous agents knowing that most, if not all,
will be sent back, left unread or perhaps discarded. So how do these
opposing forces finally meet up? The query letter!
Keep in mind the query letter is a sales tool. You will be selling yourself
and your work and you must do so in a polite and professional manner - but
sell, you must!
A good query letter has three basic parts. The first paragraphs focus on
selling the work. This part should be thorough and convincing, yet
brief (not always easy to do). It should contain the type of work your
presenting, where and when it is set, and a general idea of the plot.
The second part of your letter should be spent selling yourself. List
your writing credits and any information pertinent to that particular work.
If you do not have any writing credits, explain your expertise with the
subject matter. Mention any writer's groups or associations of which you
are a member. However, only relate information that is pertinent to your
writing and the particular work you are promoting - do not include personal
In the third part of the Query you should mention whether the work is in
progress or completed (rule-of-thumb: everything except non-fiction
should be in completed form.), when you can have it in the agent's hands,
and your contact information. Suggest he/she contact you either by
telephone or by the enclosed SASE (always enclose a SASE, this is a
courtesy most editors insist upon.), whichever is most convenient.
Go over your letter with a fine-tooth-comb. You don't want any typo's,
or wrong information; and make sure you haven't left out any pertinent
information. Your first impression must be a good one - a
If you want to know how soon you will get a response, it depends on
the agent and his/her backlog. It could be anywhere from two to six
weeks, possibly more - which is why you query many agents rather than
waiting for an answer from one before sending to another. This is
normal practice. If, however, several agents ask to see your manuscript
you should not send it to more than one at a time. At this point in the
process you should have spoken with the agents and made a decision as
to who you feel would be best suited to your needs.
Copyright - All Rights Reserved
Diane Thomas is the editor of www.ebookcrossroads.com">eBook Crossroads.com specializing in resources for writers, publishers
and promoters of eBooks and Audio Books. She publishes a monthly ezine,
the eBook Crossroads Insider, offering articles, tips, contests, free downloads
and much more!
Subscribe to the www.ebookcrossroads.com/newsletter.html">eBook Crossroads Insider.
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