Ten Tips for Effective Queries...
Here at Writer's Digest Books we get a lot of questions from writers on how to craft query letters. And with good reason. The query letter is often the most important piece of the publishing puzzle--in many cases, it determines whether an editor or agent will read your manuscript. A good query letter makes a good first impression; a bad query letter earns a swift rejection. So here are a few query do's and dont's. Following these tips may help you get noticed among the stacks of queries piled up in editors' and agents' in boxes:
- DO opt for brightly colored paper and fun fonts. Your letter will stand out and you'll make the editor or agent who receives your work smile--and a happy editor or agent is more likely to request your manuscript. I little festive confetti in the envelope is also a nice touch.
- DO let editors and agents know that you've read your work to your kids or your grandchildren. This means a lot to them and proves you've got a story kids will love.
- DO compare your work to best-selling authors. You'll really suck in that editor or agent if you tell them, "My work is just like Dr. Seuss." OR "I'm certain I'm the next Stephenie Meyer."
- DO send your letter certified mail. Staff at publishers and agencies will know you're serious about getting published if you spend the extra money for this service and they have to sign for your envelope. And they'll certainly read your query right away.
- DON'T finish your novel before you start querying. Editors and agents would rather help you work through the writing process after they've seen a few sample chapters.
- DO boast. You know you've got a great book project. Tell then you're sure it will be a best-seller and likely win the Newbery. And mention your intention to appear on Oprah.
- DO go into a lot of detail about your manuscript. Your query should let the editor or agent know the plot of your story from beginning to end and give them details about every character in your story.
- DO let them know that you've hired an illustrator if you're a picture book writer. Editors and agents will be relieved they don't have to worry about who will illustrate your book after you've signed your contract.
- DO query about all your manuscripts at one time. Since you've got the editor's or agent's attention, why not give them a chance to hear about everything you have to offer?
- DON'T bother to mention that you've queried multiple editors or agents. That's really nobody else's business.
And before you get back to writing, check out the newest Market Book we've added to our list.