Monday, December 8, 2008

Queries About Queries

In my first post, I mentioned query letters and defined them as this:

A query letter is a formal letter sent to magazine editors, literary agents and sometimes publishing houses or companies. Writers write query letters to propose writing ideas.

But queries are much more than me they are the most terrifying aspect of the attempt-at-publishing process. Here you are, begging for an agent/publisher to just *LOOK* at your work. If the query letter isn't good enough, they won't even glance at your writing. I'm horrible at them, mainly because of the dreaded...hook. Just writing it down gives me shivers (note the italics - that's me shivering).

- condensing my 125,000 word novel to a brief ~200 word description...doable
- finding a good way to say I have no previous publishing accomplishments...okay
- writing that first sentence that's supposed to draw the queried in so they'll want to read your writing sample andrequestmore-andoffertorepresentyou-andgetyoupublished-andfulfillyourlifelongdream???...eep.


Do they even read past my first sentence? Because I'm sure mine are horrible are reek of "I have no idea what to put here, please just read my story anyway" (which I hear smells really bad).

Anyway, here is what is expected in a query letter, as provided by the Nelson Literary Agency's FAQs:

Query letter breakdown by paragraph:

  1. Introduction: explain why you are contacting our agency. Were you referred? Why are we the agency for this project?
  2. Manuscript pitch: what is your novel or nonfiction proposal?
  3. Credentials: for fiction, what is your writing background, stories sold, programs attended, mentors, awards, etc. For nonfiction, Why are you the person to write this book? What are your credentials?
  4. Conclusion: Thank the agent for taking the time to read your materials, etc.

What do you think...does that seem hard? No? is!

**Examples of my rejections are soon to come. I'm trying to post as often as possible and am going to force myself to a minimum of once a week. Here's to going above and beyond that!

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