Thursday, July 6, 2017
Getting Published (part 4/4)
The next portion of your query letter is about you. What is your background? Have you won any writing contests? Have you ever had anything published? What makes you qualified to write a book like this? If you've written a picture book for children, then you'll want to share supporting evidence--maybe you have kids of your own, you teach children, or you spend a lot of time with your niece or nephew. This section is a chance for the agent to get to know you a little and to see what motivated you to write your book. Only include relevant information, though--if you're a molecular biologist and are trying to sell yourself as a children's book writer, don't start listing your credentials in the scientific community.
After you've written your bio paragraph, you need to close with information about the agency's submission requirements, saying something like, “I have included a detailed synopsis and the first 30 pages of my novel. I would be happy to send my full manuscript if you are interested. Thanks for your consideration.” Then, make sure you follow ALL the instructions indicated by the agent or agency about the materials they want from you. Sometimes they are also extremely specific about the format your manuscript sample should be in: Times New Roman, 12 pt., double spaced, headers with your book title/author name/page number, 1-inch margins, etc. Each agency (and agent!) is different, so submitting to multiple agencies is a long haul and a lot of work.
Don't be discouraged by a rejection (some don't even bother to send you that, they just leave you hanging forever), and don't get over-excited if they request a “full” (the entire manuscript.) Even if they want a “full,” they still have to like the entire thing, and then they'll proceed to how they want you to edit and change things. After that, the agent has to start pitching your story to publishers, and it's basically the same process all over again. Finding a publisher can be difficult, and it's easy to see why so many people have chosen to self-publish. Self-publishing, though, is another topic for another day...if you'd like me to pursue that topic next week, let me know!