Even though most writers are fantastic at writing, they have no idea how to market themselves.
How do you get your finished product into the right hands? How do you get published?
More importantly, how do you get paid?
The query letter is the simple answer to all of these questions. A well-crafted query letter can assist an unknown author’s first publication. Unfortunately, the flip side is often true as well. A poorly crafted query letter can dissuade an agent or editor from ever looking at your work.
Here are a few tips for writing your query letter to enable it to get into the right hands.
The Query Letter
1. Write the letter in the format of a business letter.
It is never acceptable to use slang or “text speak” in the body of the message.
2. Research your audience.
You should not send an article about airplanes to an editor at a parenting magazine.
Additionally, take some time to view a company’s website to see if they are accepting submissions. Unfortunately, too many good submissions go unnoticed because of bad timing.
A book such as Writer’s Digest is a great asset to a beginning writer.
Also, the Internet is an excellent resource for publisher’s names, addresses, and dates for submissions.
3. In the letter, explain your credentials.
If you’re a teacher who has written an article about educational strategies for preschool students, discuss a bit of your background and explain why you’re qualified.
4. Explain why the subject matters.
If you’re pitching a manuscript, explain to the acquisitions editor why your manuscript is different. Explain where the niche market might be.
5. Be succinct.
No one wants to read a ten-page explanation about your work. The idea is to get in, explain the relevance, hook the reader, and get out.
6. Be sure to leave your contact information.
In addition to your address, your phone number and email address are necessary. Essentially, it is for the agent/editor to communicate with you.
You should never send your manuscript or article off to an editor with an ill-prepared query letter.
At FirstEditing.com, professional editors can help you edit your query letter to perfection before you submit it, or even craft one for you as part of our after-editing services.
Our goal is to assist you in getting your work published. Why perfect your writing but not the letter to market your work? Let us help you with your query letter.
Originally posted 8/19/2010 and happily updated 10/29/2017. Thanks for reading!
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