Millions of writers worldwide look forward to their work being published and recognized worldwide. One may think that it’s as simple as writing a manuscript, but it can get way more complicated than that. Of course, reaching out to a reliable publication house is one of the major steps that define your work.
Once you are done with your manuscript, it’s time to reach out to send your work to potential publication houses. There are a lot of things a publication house may require from you. One of these important things is your query letter.
A well-written query letter is your ticket to be noticed by your editor or publisher. Since these professionals deal with many entries every day, your query letter can make or break your reputation in front of them. It has the potential to define their interest in your work.
If you are unsure where to begin writing your query letter, here are a few essential tips to help you.
1. Use the Correct Information
Getting done with your manuscript is one of the best feelings for every writer. After weeks of writing and revisions, seeing your work in an organized form can be beautiful. But, what comes after can be another challenge.
Of course, it is wise to reach out to multiple publication houses with your manuscript. This practice increases your chances of hearing back from interested parties and having more options. However, getting in touch with many parties at once can be overwhelming.
In such cases, many writers make the mistake of using an incorrect email address or phone number in their query letter. Wrong contact information can cause many problems, and you may never hear the good news of your manuscript being accepted.
Therefore, take a deep breath and recheck everything before sending your query letter to the publishers or editors. Using wrong information or realizing your mistake late and sending a follow-up mail with a correction can greatly affect your credibility.
2. Address the Agent by Name
A query letter is a chance for writers to make or break their reputations. As mentioned earlier, publishers and editors deal with hundreds of query letters on a daily basis. In such circumstances, you must do your best to look credible.
General query letters in which the generic recipient names are used can result from a lack of research. Therefore, it is always better to address your potential publisher, agent, or editor by their name in your query letter.
This practice shows the recipient that you want to work with them instead of shooting blank arrows. It also gives you an opportunity to personalize your letter and share the importance of your work with the concerned parties.
However, you need to make sure not to offend the recipient with avoidable mistakes. Make sure that you spell their name correctly and check for all the necessary details before sending out your query letter.
3. Keep it Short
It is a fact that the recipients of your query letter are busy people. They deal with a lot of proposals and letters daily. They can quickly get uninterested when you write a long origin story about your books and feelings.
Remember that the recipient is interested in doing business with you. They can refer to the manuscript if they are interested in getting to know your work better. You do not need to share all the details in your query letter. It is best to only discuss the following points briefly.
- The genre of your book
- The target audience
- The selling point
- A quick summary
Make sure that your summary is readable in one go. Look at your manuscript and note the most interesting and unique parts. Make sure to add these parts to your book summary. Your book summary can be one of many reasons a publisher will reach back to you.
4. Share Your Credentials
One of the most important things publishers always keep an eye on is the credentials of the author. They want to know whether you have sufficient knowledge to have a grasp on the subject or language that you are dealing with.
Therefore, it is important for authors to share their author bio with the recipients of the query letter. Remember that section has to be kept sweet and short in order to impress your publisher or editor. You can say a lot with limited words.
Make sure that your author bio includes important information such as your writing experience, former works, and expertise in the field. After all, this section is dedicated to reflecting your credibility without seeming too worked up about the deal.
5. Mention Your Connection
Connection in the literary field can make a huge difference. Using these connections as a reference in your query letter can make a huge difference in getting the recipient’s attention. So, do not shy away from using this information to your benefit.
You can also mention if someone has referred you to the recipient for their services. This information can also redefine the interest of the reader in your query letter. If possible, you can also ask the person who referred you to put in a word of consideration.
6. Close Smoothly
A smooth closing can give a sense of satisfaction to the reader, and you can surely understand this much as an author. Similarly, your query letter also deserves a satisfactory ending that enables the recipient to contact you for further steps.
Every agent or publication house has a set of guidelines and rules that need to be followed while sending a query letter. Make sure that you follow those guidelines so that your hard work does not get dismissed without a read.
It is best to close your query letter with a short paragraph. You can mention the attachments, such as sample chapters, manuscript, and proposal, in this paragraph. And, of course, give some space to thank the recipient for their time to read your work.