Six Rules on How to Query

Posted by on Nov 1, 2014 in Writing | 0 comments

Okay, so about a week (and a half) ago, I posted a blog about how not to query. I think it’s only fitting that I write a post about how to write a query letter.

  1. Start off with a question that the book will answer. If you have a post-apocalyptic thriller about undead clowns coming back to life and terrorizing coulrophobics (yes, it’s a real word, and yes, there are people afflicted with it), you could start with a question like: What do you fear most?
  2. Answer the question in the next paragraph. Introduce the main character. Maybe your hero is afraid of clowns. This paragraph is basically what you would see on the jacket of the book. You want to entice the publisher to read whatever else they required you to attach with it. In this paragraph, though, please make sure you tell us how it’s going to end. I know I said that it should be like the book jacket, but since you’re submitting to a publisher, we need to know what’s going to happen at the end. Don’t worry, we can take the ending, we’ll be okay if we’re not surprised.
  3. Details of the book. This is somewhat subjective where publishers want it put, but I prefer it after I’m enticed. Here, you will put your word count, your title, whether you are sending out multiple submissions and if the book is complete (please make sure your book is complete).
  4. Your credentials. Here is where you can brag. If you went to school for writing, if you used to write for The Tattler magazine, if you’ve previously published another book, if you’ve won any awards for your writing; all of that goes into this paragraph. What you don’t want to do with your credentials is in the previous post.
  5. Alternative to credentials. If you’re not sure about what to put for credentials or haven’t done any writing professionally, you might consider telling the publisher why you chose his or her company or how you heard about them. If you have professionals who have reviewed your work, this is where you would put the reviews.
  6. Finish with a “Thank you.” By the time you’re ready to submit a query letter, you’ve created your baby; you let it grow up; you’ve cleaned it up and made it shine. It’s ready to go out and make you money. Your query letter is your book’s resume or cover letter. In a cover letter, you thank the employer for taking the time to consider the applicant. You want to do the same with a query.

Make sure that your contact information is in your query, and that you show the publisher that you have done your research. See the previous post again for what not to do with query letters, and good luck with your book!

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