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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Make it or Break it Query Letters

First the photo today is from Marietta, Geogia. I was there yesterday at Life College. I can't get over the beauty of the Spring yet. I'm snapping photos of everything that's blooming!

Anyway, at the airport this morning (I'm in Houston until Sunday) one of my airport friends told me she had a friend that was starting to pay attention to this site. They write children's stories and had a question about "queries".

So here goes, Writing 101 on queries!

A query, as we learned yesterday, is just a letter you are writing to an editor to see if they might be interested in your story. Most editors and publishers require a query BEFORE sending your story or manuscript out. If you don't follow the rules, they will usually throw your story away. Not good.

So what's the best way to query? Let's take it in simple steps.

1. First, I think one of the easiest ways to figure out where to send a story is to visit your favorite book store or library. Look over the section of the "type" of book you have written. If it's a childrens book, look in the children's section. Find a story that seems simliar in length, then check to see who the publisher of the book is.

2. Look the publisher up on the web and type in the words "submission guidelines". They will tell you if you need to submit online, or by snail mail. Follow the rules to a tee or you won't get a response.

3. Write the letter. Keep it to one page. Don't tell them it's a wonderful story. Open with a short concise professional salutation. Give them "a hook" or something to sink their teeth into and want to read more. Most times if they can't get through the first paragraph they may not get through the whole letter.

4. Give them a short summation of the book. It does not have to be overly detailed, just the high points.

5. Give them any credentials you might have, such as anything you've had published, any contests you've won, that kind of thing. If you don't have any, say nothing.

6. Ask them if they'd be interested in looking at the manuscript. Give them an approximate word count and tell them if the manuscript is ready.

7. Close quickly and thank them for their time.

Samples of query letter can be found at http://freelancewrite.about.com/od/getpublished/a/samplequery.htm

Tomorrow I'll be leaving some information on agents actively looking for different genres!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the query sample, Ginger! Love the pic from Georgia, too.


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