Wednesday, September 22, 2010

M. Query Letters

A query letter not quite four letters but so far this has been a four letter word to me. It doesn't seem all that difficult in concept and execution. Basically it is a business letter that is supposed to sum up the book that you have been pouring your heart out for into one page, simple right?
At the beginning of the business letter that you are writing have all of the pertinent information that you need at the top, name, address, phone, email. How will the agent that you are querying contact you if you don't give them a way to contact you?

Paragraph one: Reach out to the agent that you are querying. This is where you want to tell them why you feel they would be an excellent fit for your novel. Just reading about them on a webpage that catalogs agents isn't going to cut it. Most agents have Blogs and WebPages that offer background information and other books that they represent that may be close to what you're writing. Do you research and know the people on the other end of the email that you are sending out. Keep this first part short and sweet though and then move on to the key of the letter.

Paragraph Two: This is where you get to sum up those 70k plus words into one paragraph. Give the main character's name, explain in quick detail the plot, the conflict, and the main idea of the story. You don't have to give the ending away, basically catch their attention. The best thing to do is to imagine that you are writing the back cover of your book to sell it to potential readers, if you can accomplish that then you will have the right information in there.

Paragraph Three: Give the agent the manuscript’s title, word count, genre, and also dabble into some of your background information. This is where I have the most trouble and doubt. I don't have any background information to give, I am just a man that writes with his wife and we feel we have stories that should be told and can be told.
Paragraph Four: Thank the agent for their time and consideration. Be polite and professional, you expect that from them whether they send you a reply so do the same for them. After this is complete you can write your salutation.
Finally I can only give one last piece of advice that I don't follow enough, read your query before you send it. Just because the spell check didn't underline the word doesn't mean that it is spelled right.

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