Monday, June 5, 2017

The Summary In Your Query Is Not A Back Cover Blurb

When we are reading query letters, there are three things that we need to see. The first is the basic information about the book (title, genre and word count). The second would be the information about the story arc of the book. The final piece is information about you as an author. What we tend to find in query letters is that the middle piece is the one that so many people screw up.

When it comes to this section, a lot of writers are often told this summary is similar to the back cover blurb on published novels. It is important to note that this is true. It is SIMILAR. But this is not what we need to see in the query letter.

When it comes to those blurbs on the back cover of published novels, these are meant to be a teaser. There needs to be a hint of what the book is going to be about, without giving away the plot or the conflict. We just need a bit. Unfortunately, for letters, we need much more.

Although you are going to give us a synopsis of your story and hopefully a partial or a full to read, the blurb in the query letter needs to give us the story arc. We need to see the beginning, the middle and the end. We need to know what the conflict of the story is and a bit of how it will be solved. I know this may feel like a lot to put in 1-2 paragraphs but it is important for us to get a sense of the story and how it might fit into our line up.

I have said this in the past, but I want to repeat this here again. If we are left with questions about the book, we will not likely ask for more material just to get those questions answered. We will simply pass on the project.

So, take a look at that information about your book. Are you just hinting or giving us a complete picture of your story?

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