Saturday, October 07, 2006

What Is a Query Letter?

Dear Dead Beat,

what is a query letter?


Dear Embarassed,

If you want to be a writer never admit to embarassment. Writing honestly will always be embarassing.

A query letter is a letter of enquiry, usually in our cases to a publisher (or agent). So ask the question: Do you want to see my work?

Before that, set up the 'letter' that the answer is 'yes'. If you do not do this, then the answer is 'no' or at best 'maybe' and the question becomes almost redundant.

So how to achieve a 'yes'?

Be deserving of it.

If your work is not ready to be considered, do not sent it out. If it is ready the letter tells them this: so how do you know?

Have other people agreed with your opinion? Has it been published or received well? If so, let them know. Establish in your letter the validity of your work. Argue your position. Do not trust your own opinion solely. Do not say, "well others just don't get it, their problem."

Your problem is how to get them to understand it.

So ask in your letter if the publisher/agent etc wants to see your work, and explain before that why they would want to. If you can't explain that, either you have not yet earned that right or you have problems in telling why.

Be honest, or at least ask others to be honest on your behalf.

Either need to be solved.

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