Posted in books

Writing a Query Letter: Part 5

To find the first part of this series, Click HERE. For Part 2, click HERE. Part 3, click HERE Part 4, click HERE. To listen to the full discussion on the Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast, click HERE.

Blurb Writing Tips

Research
Reads blurbs for popular books
Not a guarantee, but helpful

Direct to your reader
Different readers require different approaches

Give it time
Rewrite, revise, start over
This is important, so take your time

Cut unnecessary words
Don’t waste limited space

Get an outside opinion
**Someone who’s read the book
They can make sure you’ve include the pertinent details and stay true to the feel of your book
**Someone who hasn’t read the book
They can make sure it makes sense to an outsider

Professional resources
Paid services
Free services like Query Shark

PROOFREAD IT!!!

Keeping Track of Your Queries

QueryTracker.net
Most options are free, but you do need an account

Trusty Notebook/Word File
Sticky Notes
My personal favorite

Whatever method you choose, know the agent’s normal response time.
**Once you pass that, consider it a “No”

Follow up?
Depends on agent. Most usually have instructions on their website about whether or not to contact them for follow up. Follow their directions please!

Pacing?

How many agents should you query at a time?
**Most recommend 3-4/week

Why?
If it’s not working, you may want to change things up

Starting point?
Top or bottom of your list? — Totally up to you, but a lot of authors will recommend not starting with your top choices just in case you find out later your query needs more work.

Good luck with your query writing process and if you have any tips to share, please do!

Listen to the full discussion now on my new podcast!

Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast: How to Write a Query Letter Without Going Completely Crazy

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Posted in query letter

Writing a Query Letter: Part 2

To find the first part of this series, Click HERE. To listen to the full discussion on the Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast, click HERE.

123Parts of a Query Letter:

Paragraph One – The Hook
Personalization/Introduction
Book details
Hook

Paragraph Two
Mini-Synopsis
Think: back cover

Paragraph Three
Bio
Publishing credits/awards
Thank you/closing

Where do you start? Personalization

WhyPARAGRAPH ONE – INTRODUCTION
Why are you querying this agent?
Did you meet them somewhere?
Invitation/Request?
Researched their agency/house?
Referred?

Personalize
Make sure the agent or publisher knows why you chose their agency
NEVER open with DEAR AGENT/PUB
Find a connection – Research
Be professional

Paragraph One: Book Details

What are you selling?
Keep it simple
Title
Word count
Genre
Age group

This should all be in one sentence

Paragraph One: The Hook

The 3 elements
Character + conflict
Choices/stakes
Sizzle
Possible 4th element: setting/time period

Hook vs. Heart

Hook: What makes your book unique and interesting?

Heart: Why you’re story will affect readers.

Hook should be ONE SENTENCE.

What is sizzle?
Why your story is different from a million others
DON’T TELL THE ENDING

Hook Examples

5d093-alphabetvectorBridges of Madison County
When Robert Kincaid drives through the heat and dust of an Iowa summer and turns into Francesca Johnson’s farm lane looking for directions, the world-class photographer and the Iowa farm wife are joined in an experience that will haunt them forever.
The Kite Runner
An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present.
Wicked Hunger
Will the Roth siblings insatiable hunger for pain and suffering turn them into villains, or can they somehow find a way to become the heroes of their own dark story?

Join me next week for a discussion on Paragraph Two of the query.


Listen to the full discussion now on my new podcast!

Write. Publish. Repeat. Podcast: How to Write a Query Letter Without Going Completely Crazy