You only have two second to capture the agent or reader’s attention! This is the exact same reason your query letter has to stand out and convey its message interestingly and convincingly as well as why you should only write it when you are comfortable and ready with what you have to say (or sell, which is your novel or book).
In today’s post, we’re going to show you exact ways on how to make a convincing letter, which will show that your work (or masterpiece) is sellable or marketable as a commodity and need to pay attention to professional letter writing.
Writing a Query Letter Guide
- Before your query letter, make sure that you have a polished manuscript, which must be your best, a book you foresee and believe that will appear in bookstore shelves soon.
- Don’t rush writing your letter or focus on the manuscript. Remember that an editor or agent does not really have the time of reading every manuscript. It’s where your query letter comes in. This is the tool to use to represent your case and convince the reader, so it must have both the quality of your writing and your ideas.
- Remember that it’s the nature of the trade to judge a one-page letter. This is why you have to prove and represent your case well in writing a query letter.
Parts of the Query Letter
- Opening paragraph: Don’t lose your one shot to grab the reader’s attention by trying to be ‘magical,’ too creative, too witty or too humorous in your opening lines. As said earlier, you’re only given two seconds to grab a reader’s attention. Don’t make a flashy opening or your letter will fall flat. Define what you are offering and state it clearly. Chances are the agent will decide reading further based on the book’s word count and genre, among other factors. Give him the details straight off the bat.
- Overview/synopsis: You should keep your synopsis to only up to two paragraphs, so make sure that you illustrate your story’s plot or concept at a glance. In writing a query letter, add in the most important details on this part, including the novel’s setting, conflict, central characters and resolution. You should be as specific as possible. In your plot, include the timeframe on when the story took place (if this is a novel).
- Credentials: Coming up with a bio should not be hard for published authors, but daunting for unpublished writers. No matter how accomplished you are, you should not be arrogant, but just reflect the right amount of confidence. Remember if your query letter is good, it does not matter if you don’t have enough publishing experience. What to include in this section are your education, writing experience and publishing achievements/credentials. You should learn of the right way in highlighting any self-published books in this profile.
- Thank you section: Express appreciation to editor/agent for reading your offer and tell her/him you are willing to send sample chapters.
Writing a query letter doesn’t have to be hard if you know your novel as well as its selling points that will convince your reader that it’s worth publishing and displaying in the bookstores. Spend enough time and avoid rushing your query letter before submitting it.
Sometimes you might also need to know how to write a cancellation letter, so have a glance at our tips to be 100% ready.