How to Turn Your Book Ideas into Money in the Bank, Step 6: Query Letters and Self-Publishing

Welcome back to our Turning Book Ideas into Money series! So far we have covered:

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:

  1. Research potential agents: genres they like, titles and authors they’ve sold
  2. Drop the old-school gender salutation and just start with: Dear Jennifer Jackson,
  3. The Hook: What is the unique aspect of your novel? Open the letter with that
  4. 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
  5. 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

Continue reading “How to Turn Your Book Ideas into Money in the Bank, Step 6: Query Letters and Self-Publishing”

Create Beautiful Custom Descriptions for Your Kindle E-Books

While the ultimate value of any business lies in the quality of its final product, the product’s value does not come into play unless its presentation is of equal quality.

This is true of eBooks.

If you want your book to get noticed in a good way, your books description is one of two key elements to accomplishing this feat. While publishing it, Amazon doesn’t allow you to customize your description. It’s all plain text with no flourish, and no vitality, really. Even if you write your description in Word, customize the bejeebers out of it, and then paste it into the description in the Book Contents section of your KDP publishing page, Amazon will dull it down to all basic text.

Many top Amazon publishers overcome this weakness by using HTML, making their book descriptions look positively cherry.

But, unless you are a master chef with HTML, you’re stuck with flat-looking descriptions.

That’s where Kindlepreneur’s FREE software comes in. Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur sent me an e-mail with a number of excellent free downloads, including his Amazon Book Description Generator. This thing is dynamite. I want to thank Dave for offering this excellent tool. It has helped me climb yet another step in my stairway to eBook success.

Book Description Techniques

With this great tool you can apply Bold highlighting to certain words. Most publishers do this with their catch phrase, the first line in their description. You can choose from—I believe—7 different font sizes, which is awesome. There are options for italics and underline, which add subtle distinctiveness to your description. Strikethrough and subscript are there also, along with a horizontal line and ordered lists.

(I’ve used the generator for my book description to W.A.N.D. and I am very pleased with it. I have not yet applied it to my other books. One small step at a time. They all need some description-tweaking anyway.)

The first time I used it, I expected it to ping me back with an ERROR or SOMETHING WENT WRONG page. I’ve received those bugging annoying signs every step of the way. But, instead, the screw-up was on my end this time. I mistakenly used the generators largest available font size for my first sentences. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE. It makes your description look cartoonish. A slightly larger font for the first sentence will do fine.

If you want to use this delightful tool, here is a link to it. Kindlepreneur is kind enough to offer this for free, while other businesses will charge upwards of $97. So unless you know HTML, and even if you do, make your life simpler and your book descriptions better, and start using this generator.

Maybe you’d like to share your example book description after using this tool? Go ahead and show us it in the comments section below. We’d love to see it!