Thursday, May 11, 2017

Does Your Query Letter Sell You?

I have been reading a lot of query letters this last week that stood out to me. No, it was not because the projects were amazing. It was simply the fact that so many of these query letters were simply milk toast. These letters did nothing to convince me that asking for more of their project would be worth it.

What so many authors fail to remember, is that a query letter is the first sales pitch you are providing for your manuscript. Sure, we will make a decision based on the actual story, but you have to get us to that point first. You have to sell us! Your story has to sound amazing and even more so, you have to be someone that sounds like the most incredible writer out there.

Think of your query letter as being that cover letter for your resume when you apply for a job. In that letter you highlight your successes. You demonstrate to that future employer what you bring to the table and how you and your experience stands out among all of the other projects out there. The same thing has to happen in that query letter.

Here are a couple of things to ask about your letter:

  • If you are comparing your story to other projects are you showing how you bring something new to what these other authors have done?
  • Is your high concept showing us that this project is different from any other story out there?
  • Are you showing us that the characters in your books are people that readers can relate to, but will want to know more about?
  • Are you giving us a sense of your plot that demands we want to read this book?
  • Are you showing us that you have a strong sense of the business and what it will take to be a published author?
  • Are you showing that you have a sense of your future in this business?
I think a comment another agent made on a panel I participated in summed it up well. If we read your query or read your project and come to a "MAYBE" conclusion, then that "Maybe" becomes a "No."

Make sure your query is not a Maybe-Letter!

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