Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Getting Published (part 3)
The query letter. This letter is your pitch, and it's literally your only chance with an agent. Once they've read it and decided you're "not the right fit," it's over. Don't ever write that agent again, unless it's for a completely different book. They receive thousands of submissions that they have to read through, so if you bug them at all, you're only hurting yourself; agents talk, and you don't want your name floating around on a blacklist. Some agencies don't even want you trying again with another one of their agents--a denial from one is a denial from the entire agency. Accept rejection, and move on. You may think your novel is the next "Harry Potter," but no amount of your insistent personal conviction is going to change the mind of an agent once they've decided against your book. So how do you write your query letter? Very carefully. There is no shortage of advice online about how to write a query letter, but it's safe to say that there are a few basics you'll need to include. First, you'll need an introduction. I've seen it done in a number of ways. Some people open with a single sentence summary of their book. That hook is either going to grab the agent and cause them to read further, or they'll trash it immediately if it's not right for them. Another way of opening is to give them some up-front info about your book--this info, if not in your intro, needs to be somewhere in the letter. Name the title of your book, the word count, the genre, and the target audience. Example; "I'm excited to share BUCKET OF ANGRY SNAILS, a 93,589 word fantasy novel for young adults." After your intro, you need a one-paragraph summary of your novel. This summary should read like the back cover of a book--it doesn't tell you every plot point, but it lets you know what the story is about and poses some intriguing questions the story will answer.