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Crafting Irresistible Query Letters is a book for every writer who wants to captivate magazines, acquisition editors or agents with their ideas and to improve their.
Table of contents
- My WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT Book and Resources for Writers | Kidlit
- Agent Query – How to Write a Query Letter
- Checklist: How to Write a Query Letter
- THE INSIDER'S GUIDE TO GETTING AN AGENT
Are you unlovable? Is it your manuscript? Is it unlovable? Agents want to represent you. Therefore, they view your letter as an opportunity for themselves. Many agents have explained what they look for in a query letter, to help writers like you do better with their queries. Why, then, do so many query letters fail to garner attention? Any of these can sabotage a query, and all are fixable.
I have observed the recommendations made by agents, and have compiled my observations into a few sections here that should help guide your querying. Before you even think about querying an agent, there are things to must do first. Here are five questions to ask yourself before your first letter goes out. Already sent out some letters?
As you research agents, pay close attention to their submission instructions, and their own writing style. Your query letter should fit each agent specifically.
My WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT Book and Resources for Writers | Kidlit
There are differences in the letter when you send via post vs. Since e-mail is more prominent now, the below are for e-mail only. Often, this is double-spaced, point font, Times New Roman. It varies, though, so be sure you know what they want. This may mean reformatting your pages over and over again, but what a small price to pay, am I right?
- Writing Irresistible Kidlit!
- Innere Medizin - essentials.
- Get Published, See Your Book in Bookstores, Reach Your Readers. It All Begins with an Agent..
- Don’t Hate the Query Letter: Master It.
Do not send more pages than the agent asks for. Oh, but something amazing happens on page 7, and I only get to send 5 pages! That amazing thing should be happening on page 2 or 3. Revise your manuscript to bring that engaging event forward. Readers are only going to give you a page or two to grasp their attention, so get to the good stuff fast. Agents that are excited by a query letter need that excitement boosted by manuscript pages that maintain the level of energy introduced in your letter.
Below are a couple of books on querying agents. How to Write Irresistible Query Letters. Which of these examples would you say is more engaging? Can you discern which one uses show versus tell? He paused to look at her, the wind blowing her hair around her face as she smiled. He loved that woman. Windswept, her hair swirled around her beaming face. His breath caught in his chest.
One explains what the writer wants the reader to understand. The other leads the reader to that understanding through their own imagination. Showing brings the reader into your world. Telling keeps them outside it. Telling involves sensory words like see, hear, feel, taste, touch. It also can be an explanation. Showing, on the other hand, describes what happens to the characters as they feel these things. I am very much a teller. Go here, do this, feel that. So easy. So direct. How I love being direct.
Agent Query – How to Write a Query Letter
Plus, showing is so much harder. Of course, it is worth the effort to give the reader the experience of feeling what the characters feel. Take away that opportunity to live through the characters, and you strip the reader of their connection to your story.
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You want readers connected to your story. So, show, dear writer, show. Here are some more examples. She looked angry. Red stained her cheeks, and her lips grew taut. They hurried. Quickening their pace, they slipped through the crowd. It was hot and humid. She fanned herself slowly, watching condensation form a puddle at the base of her glass. The goal overall is to paint a picture for your reader, allowing them to make the connection between what is said and what is meant. However, there are times when telling is better than showing.
If you need to provide backstory, telling can be more concise. With a complex scene, it can provide clarity. If you need to present facts or instructions, a direct approach is best. Providing backstory is a great time to tell the reader something, rather than showing them. Continuing with our subjects above, we can explain how the two met.
He met her years ago, when they were both busy graduate students with no time for each other. Another appropriate moment for telling instead of showing is when you have a complex or long scene, and you need to call out a critical detail. It would go something like show-show-tell-show-show.
She wrestled with her coat, shoving her arms through unwilling sleeves and tangling her fingers in her hair as she yanked on her tucked-under collar. Avoiding his critical gaze, Elena gripped her keys in one hand and slammed the door with the other. Derek stood up and rubbed his temple. Pulling his keys from his pocket, he quietly followed her out of the house. Elena was nearly home before her breathing returned to normal. As she slowed to turn into her driveway, she glanced at the rear view mirror and her eyes flew open wide.
Finally, when you need to present facts about or instructions for something, it is useful to tell, not show. For example, when you have a situation in which a technical skill is possessed by a character, you can explain the technical aspects plainly so the reader has that knowledge at hand later in the story. Derek had followed Elena at a discreet distance, but on her quiet street, his car was unmistakable.
As with all things related to writing, practicing this skill will help you better identify when to show and when to tell, and where to blend the two. It will be in discovering that perfect blend that your writing will become better paced, more engaging, and more memorable.
Try miming a scene. Act it out. What does embarrassed look like? Shoulders curl inward, cheeks flush, eyes look down or away, lips get bitten, hands get wrung. Ask questions. How does a defeated person walk? What is it that a person does that makes them creepy? Describe those actions, instead of using the words exasperated, sleeping, defeated, or creepy. Become an observer. Watch how people react to a windy day. This is my first novel. A great way to do that is by identifying comparable titles. This lets agents know you come with a built-in fanbase. I am a huge fan of your client, Michael Chabon.
Or if you want to do one better, refer to something that the agent has written or said in public. I saw your presentation at the Literary Writers Conference last year. Your comments on the dearth of female protagonists in fantasy fiction really resonated with me. My book is, in part, an attempt to redress that balance. Don't lay it on too thick. Just show that you've put thought and effort into choosing which agents you query. Get a friend to read the whole thing to make sure your spelling, grammar, and punctuation is all on point.
Just thank them, and sign off. Cool infographic alert! A query letter checklist for authors Click To Tweet. Again, no two query letters are the same, but these examples should provide some helpful guidelines to set you on the right path. One sample pitches a historical romance , one pitches a science fiction novel , and one pitches a psychological thriller , so you can see how query letters for different genres might vary.
Check it out if you still need a title, or if you're just curious to see what comes up.
Checklist: How to Write a Query Letter
Of course, the road to drafting the perfect query letter can turn out to be a minefield — seemingly innocuous sentences can send up red flags in the eyes of an agent. So how can you guarantee that your letter fires on all cylinders? By getting a query letter review from a Reedsy professional. Many of the editors on our network have been acquisition editors and literary agents at some point in their careers.
Click To Tweet. These few hundred words can determine your writing career. If you have any questions, thoughts, or comments on writing query letters, drop us a message on the comments below. At first glance, the recommendations are worth it to be read. Has someone famous praised your work? Either one will capture instant attention. But the most important thing you can do in your opening is to define the audience and market for your book and state why your book is unique or has sales potential in the marketplace.
Be specific. If you have any media contacts or a way to position your book so that it will be irresistible for the media to cover, then say so in the first sentence. Point 4: Describe Your Product: In the second paragraph, provide a brief overview of your book.
If possible, reference bestselling books within the same genre and point out why your book is different. Present facts about your work, not opinions. Tell the editor why your book will fill an unmet need in the marketplace. This is a case where less is more. Point 5: About The Author: In the third paragraph, talk about yourself. Why are you writing this book? What are your credentials? Are you an expert in the field? Have you ever been published before?
Do you have media experience or media contacts?
If so, then let the editor know. If you have limited experience, say so. Be honest and straightforward. Experience helps, but lack of experience will not immediately disqualify you. Under no circumstances should you include information about your personal life unless such information is pertinent to selling the book. A SASE is most often used to send a form rejection letter back to the author. If interested, an editor will contact you immediately by phone or email.
It should be perfect. You can certainly spend a few hours perfecting your query letter. Now you have to present it to the editor in the correct fashion or else risk being dismissed as an amateur. If you have a letterhead, use it. Anything that detracts from the substance of your letter could trigger a rejection. When it comes time to mail your letter, use FedEx. This serves two purposes. Second, and most importantly, it gets opened.
Other than concise, professional writing, using FedEx is the 1 way to differentiate yourself from the thousands of authors who query a publisher in any given year. Bribery and clever stunts can not replace great writing or a unique product idea. If you compose your letter correctly, you should be confident it will merit the response it deserves. Utilize each of the 8 points above while drafting your query letter, and I guarantee it will be better than In addition, if a market exists for your book, a query letter crafted to the specifications of this outline will almost always generate a request for a book proposal or sample chapters within one week.
So start working on your knockout query letter today! On the Internet, it is very possible to make money without selling any product. One way of doing so is through starting your own eZine, also known as an electronic newsletter. In a nutshell, you send out your eZine issues on a periodical basis to your subscribers.
The good part is that you have a flexible choice in automating the process of sending out your eZine issues for you or manually sending them on a periodical basis. As an eZine publisher, not only can you easily achieve the benefits a conventional newsletter publisher enjoys without having to chop down several trees in the process, you can easily and conveniently spread your marketing influence and expertise to your base of subscribers from the shoes of an ordinary individual.
In other words, you do not have to invest in expensive printing equipment, brick and mortar business, and hiring staff just to run your own newsletter publication, resulting in a lot of time, money and effort saved. Basically, all you need to start your own eZine are an auto responder and broadcast feature to go with, enabling you to reach out to your massive subscribers whom you can regard as your prospects, too.
All in all, if you do not have the commitments of creating your own product for sale, then publishing your own online newsletter can be one of the wisest decisions you will ever make, given the benefits of impressive marketing power and influence it can offer to you.
THE INSIDER'S GUIDE TO GETTING AN AGENT
Churning out eZine Content. Creating your own content can be a challenge if you publish your own online newsletter or eZine. However, regardless of any topic you are publishing on, types of contents can be generally divided into four categories, namely factual content, short tips, mini stories and case studies.