Feb 15, 2011

Hook Your Book With That Query

When you're finally done with your piece and you're ready to send it off with the hopes of publishing, the first thing to do is to send out queries.

DO NOT send the whole manuscript out; it will get rejected instantly.

A query letter is basically a letter to the agent or publisher that you are submitting to telling them what you're story is about and why they should pay attention. It's sort of like asking permission to send them you're manuscript.

Without a good query letter, you'll never get the chance to send out your manuscript. The query is the first time you get to sell your work and hook your chance of being published.

  • Begin like you're writing a Normal Letter. Include the date, your contact information and who the letter is for. Address the recipient formally using Mr., Mrs. or Ms. and then the last name. Research who you're writing to and make sure you address them appropriately. In the worst case scenario, use: to whom it may concern, but try extremely hard to avoid this.

  • The First Paragraph is the hook. Introduce your story with action. Give the reader of this letter a reason to be curious and care about what you have to say. Ignite the passion that you have for this story and put it here. Write this in present tense.

  • The Second Paragraph should include the title of your story, the word count, and what defines the story. This is more of an overview of the piece, a brief synopsis that would make the recipient eager to have the manuscript sent to them. This should be short, yet concise and informative.

  • The Third Paragraph is your bio. Only include information that is relevant to your story. If you've been published prior, mention that. If you've gone to graduate school for writing, mention that. If you like to bake cookies, leave it out. Don't waste your reader's time. However, if your main character is a baker and includes recipes of outstanding cookie recipes, you may want to consider putting it in - only because it gives you more credentials. If you don't have any amazing background traits in the field of writing or whatever you're writing about, you don't have to put anything in here. This just allows more room for your synopsis on the page.

  • The Conclusion is important. Stay formal. Thank them for their time, and be done. Sign with "Sincerely." Type your name, but leave a few spaces between the signature and closing line so you can physically sign it as well.

Make sure the letter is typed, preferably with a common font such as Times New Roman. Keep it all on one page - if you go over onto two pages, you wrote too much and need to refine your words. Print on white paper, without a border.

Professionalism is key.

If you've followed those steps, you're done. Pretty simple. Ask family and friends to look over it for you to see if they get hooked in your letter. You want to be as enticing and professional as possible. Then you're query letter will be complete.

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