Welcome back to our Turning Book Ideas into Money series! So far we have covered:
- Conception (of the idea)
- Soundtrack to your writing
- Editing and Revising (cutting the flab out of your stories)
If you have decided to go the traditional route and get your book published with the big dogs in New York, then you will need to craft a short, compelling query letter.
This is a dreaded step for writers the world over. How can we be expected to compress our 100,000 word manuscript into a 250 word blurb? It’s outrageous, impossible! I won’t do it and that’s it. You can resent it. You can refuse to play by their rules. And you will never get that beauty published. Your idea, outlined, written, edited to a prosy shine, will lie forever in a drawer.
Are you ready to suck it up and write a query like a good little writer?
Check out this post for examples of winning queries. Note how each query differs slightly, depending on the genre of the book it represents, but also note that they all share one common thread: they sell both the book and the author.
A query letter is a letter of introduction, introducing a literary agent to you and your book. BUT, it is also much more than that. It is the last step in your Jedi training. Master the query and you will be crowned a Jedi Knight, powerful in the ways of the Writing Force. Succeed in this and you will have your own literary agent. Of course, there yet remain plenty of hurdles between your dream and sales. But crafting a successful query is a major check in the win column.
Here are 5 quick tips on drafting winning queries:
- Research potential agents: genres they like, titles and authors they’ve sold
- Drop the old-school gender salutation and just start with: Dear Jennifer Jackson,
- The Hook: What is the unique aspect of your novel? Open the letter with that
- The Body of the letter should include: Main character (don’t give a run-down of every character) and the person/group/thing that is keeping the MC from attaining her deepest desire. Don’t forget to include What is at Stake. What is exceptional about your created world? Ideally this will be something the agent has not yet seen
- The Snatch-N-Grab closing: Compare your book to other successful works, especially if they are books this agent has sold or mentioned as a favorite