Writing Books/query letters
I've been working on a novel for a long time now and I'm just a few chapters away from being finished. I've done research on what to do to get published and that I should try to get an agent with query letters/proposals. I found that trying to sum up my novel in just a few paragraphs is extremely difficult. Is there any suggestions on what I should and should not include to make it the best query letter that it could be? How can I make a query letter strong and inviting for the readers/agents?
Hello Jennirae! And congratulations on coming so far with your work. By thoroughly researching the publishing industry, you have already put yourself ahead of the game!
Writing a query letter is far more daunting than composing the novel itself. It's no easy task to take 50,000+ words and convert them into a one page letter, using 500 words or less. The good news is that real summarizing comes into play in the synopsis. The query letter is just a taste of your writing abilities and what you have to offer. Keep in mind, this is yous initial contact with the publisher/agent and, thus, will be their first impression of your writing ability. Keep you letter short, concise, and professional.
When you begin writing your query letter, make it personal. Do not compose a form query letter - that's about as interesting as a form rejection letter, of which no aspiring author is particularly fond. Address the agent/editor by name, rather than saying "Dear Agent," or "Dear Editor." Before delving into the substance of the letter, include why you have chosen to submit to their agency/press. It will make your letter stand out.
When marketing your book to an agent, you want to sound confident, but not arrogant. Avoid insisting that your book is the next best-seller. Don't tell them that you are the "next Stephen King." We already have a Stephen King, we don't need another one. Agents are looking for something fresh and new. So instead PROVE to them that you are worth it! Write and market your query and manuscript so well that agents and editors will not want to pass it up. After sending your letter, do NOT make follow-up calls. The agency/press will notify you when they reach a decision. If their response time runs out and they still have not contacted you, assume that they are not interested. Move on to the next agent or editor on your list.
Your query letter should include the following: your introduction (which includes the formerly mentioned points), a brief summary of your manuscript, author credentials, and, of course, a polite closing, thanking the agent/editor for taking the time to read your letter and for considering your manuscript.
Remember, only provide credentials where applicable. Never announce that you have none. Just skip that section if it does not apply to you.
I hope this information is useful to you.
Best of luck!