Writing AdviceWriting, Advice
ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated
2019

5 Things Nobody Tells You About Query Letters

In this video, we discuss five things about writing query letters that nobody tells you.

Now that you've written a book or an article and you want to get it published. But how do you make that happen?

  • First, don't mention money or payment. The purpose of a query letter is to request that an agent, publisher or editor consider your writing to be included in their publication. Just like you wouldn't ask a prospective employer exactly how much they are going to pay you before you discuss your qualifications, neither should you inquire about payment when writing your query letter.
  • Second, keep it under a page (single-spaced) and half a page is better. Remember the simple point of writing a query letter is to let to the publisher or editor know what you have written and why they should want to read it.
  • Third, mention publishing credits or writer's awards, but only if they are significant. If your only publishing credential is a guest post on your best friend's blog, it's best to leave that off of the query letter—unless your best friend's blog has thousands of readers.
  • Fourth, make it personal and tell the reader why you've sent it to him or her specifically. The best way to find publications that cater to a niche audience is to look through the publication's website—particularly the "about" and "media kit" sections. This research on your end will give you details concerning the publication's audience, reach, goals, and vision.
  • Fifth, if you have a regular writing platform or social media account focused on your writing, mention it briefly, along with a link and stats related to your audience. The reason for doing this is very simple: publishers (or agents or editors) understand that an audience is an important thing. For them, audience numbers and statistics translate into dollar signs. It's just that simple.

Remember—you only get one chance to make a great first impression. So do your research and make it count.

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