Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Query Letters

Filed under: publishing,query letters — gator1965 @ 1:56 pm

Today we are going into the teaching mode for a certain group of writers. Discussion will be the ALL IMPORTANT query letters to sell yourself and your project. 

Query letters are necessary to sell your written work to literary agents and publishers of all kinds. It is your pitch or written job interview if you will.

All query letters should be short and sweet and summarize your entire project succinctly. Ideally, the query letter should be one page. And this one page tome must include, at minimum, your qualifications and a Synopsis of your entire project…No small feat! It takes practice to write a good query that grabs and holds interest.

Allena Tapia of has written a short five (5) point guide to get you started on the right track. Although she uses a query letter for an article, it also applies, as she notes, to book publishers as well:

By Allena Tapia
The point of your query letter is to sell an article or an idea for an article. This is the format and medium in which magazines, newspapers and book editors expect to be approached.

1.Use standard header information. Address your letter directly to the editor in charge of queries and manuscripts. Do your homework, and avoid sending queries and pitches blindly.

2.Open with a statement that makes the editor want to keep reading. This could either be a brief statement about your particular qualifications for this article, or an attention-grabbing introduction to the idea itself.

3.Spend more time detailing your idea. This is the area to make the sale convincing. Why does the editor care about this? Is it really timely? Does it fit in perfectly with the publications mission? Will it hook her readers? Often this is a good place to use quotes, anecdotes or samples from you proposed article.

4.Convince the editor to hire you. If you haven’t done this above, convince the editor that you are the most qualified writer for this angle. Perhaps you’ve got an inside scoop. Maybe your subject has promised you, in particular, the first interview. This would also be the place to mention past credits or significant education in the subject. Whatever it is that makes you the best person to write this article, here is where you sell it.

5.Never make the editor work harder. Be sure to close with your contact information highly visible. In addition make sure the editor knows exactly where he/she can follow up on you, the writer. Do you have any clips, or perhaps a website? Don’t make them look- put it right out in plain sight!

What You Need:
•Name and address of the submissions editor
•Word processing program
•Shining idea that no sane editor would ever pass up


Thoughts on the Publishing Industry, My Novel and Other Stuff

This post is taken from my website at :

6/9/09: Although I’ve had the query letter and book proposal for my nonfiction novel written forever, I have not sent any out due to the upheaval in the publishing industry and the economic downturn.
I have been researching self-publishing as perhaps a maturing industry, coming into it’s own as a result of new technology, to get my novel published and keep more of the money in my own pocket. I have been reporting on this a little in previous posts. This throws us headlong into the necessity of then having to market our own books…but, hell, we had to do that as first-time authors with the traditional publishers anyway!

I will send out queries, however, it’s just a dream to be published by a traditional publishing house.

Good, reputable Literary agents used to be able to get you better deals, I’m not sure anymore. Some spend so much time on blogs that I don’t see how they have any time to properly agent your work…and some have just gotten a little too big for their britches…So, BEWARE of agents that have found new-found fame and followers on their own blogs!!! Could be they are positioning for new jobs in the present industry upheaval.

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