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Writing The Query Letter


The query letter is simply a business letter that serves a dualpurpose. It is an introduction of you to an agent, and an inquiryas to whether the agent would be interested in seeing a particularpiece of your work. The query letter is the first "picture" an agentwill have of you and your work; and is perhaps your strongestselling tool.

Why the query letter? Basically it serves to save time. Agents andpublishers simply do not have the time to read unsolicited manuscripts,and it is certainly a waste of your time (and money) to make copies andsend manuscripts out to numerous agents knowing that most, if not all,will be sent back, left unread or perhaps discarded. So how do theseopposing forces finally meet up? The query letter!

Keep in mind the query letter is a sales tool. You will be selling yourselfand your work and you must do so in a polite and professional manner - butsell, you must!

A good query letter has three basic parts. The first paragraphs focus onselling the work. This part should be thorough and convincing, yetbrief (not always easy to do). It should contain the type of work yourpresenting, where and when it is set, and a general idea of the plot.

The second part of your letter should be spent selling yourself. Listyour writing credits and any information pertinent to that particular work.If you do not have any writing credits, explain your expertise with thesubject matter. Mention any writer's groups or associations of which youare a member. However, only relate information that is pertinent to yourwriting and the particular work you are promoting - do not include personalinformation.

In the third part of the Query you should mention whether the work is inprogress or completed (rule-of-thumb: everything except non-fictionshould be in completed form.), when you can have it in the agent's hands,and your contact information. Suggest he/she contact you either bytelephone or by the enclosed SASE (always enclose a SASE, this is acourtesy most editors insist upon.), whichever is most convenient.

Go over your letter with a fine-tooth-comb. You don't want any typo's,or wrong information; and make sure you haven't left out any pertinentinformation. Your first impression must be a good one - aprofessional one.

If you want to know how soon you will get a response, it depends onthe agent and his/her backlog. It could be anywhere from two to sixweeks, possibly more - which is why you query many agents rather thanwaiting for an answer from one before sending to another. This isnormal practice. If, however, several agents ask to see your manuscriptyou should not send it to more than one at a time. At this point in theprocess you should have spoken with the agents and made a decision asto who you feel would be best suited to your needs.

Copyright - All Rights Reserved

Diane Thomas is the editor of eBook Crossroads.com specializing in resources for writers, publishersand promoters of eBooks and Audio Books. She publishes a monthly ezine,the eBook Crossroads Insider, offering articles, tips, contests, free downloadsand much more!

Subscribe to the eBook Crossroads Insider.


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