Thursday, July 20, 2017

Writing The Follow Up Query Letter

So, you pitched at a conference and an editor or agent has asked to see more. Now what?

First of all, send the darn thing. We have found that barely 30% of people will send in projects following a request at a conference. IF you took up a time slot and pitched and IF someone said to send more, then DO IT!

This letter though will be different from any other query letter though. You are not going to just crank out your old query letter and you are not going to just repeat everything you said during that 7-10 minute speech. This is about reminding the editor or agent why they thought you were totally amazing.

Begin first with a reminder of when you met and what you pitched. Thank them right from the start and tell them what you are sending to them.

Next, briefly remind them what the story is about. Tell them the characters, the premise, the conflict and maybe the solution.

I should note, that with each of these sections, use terms such as "To remind you..." When we are at a conference, we see a lot of people and hear a lot of pitches. We often do not remember these things. This works in your advantage because you are going to do one more thing.

Continually remind them of all the things they said they liked during the meeting! For example...

As a reminder, this was the story about the little girl who finally emerged from the foster care system and the struggles she faced with becoming adjusted to a family who really cared. You noted that this story was truly inspirational and it reminded you of a friend of yours from high school...

By doing this, you are priming them with only good thoughts so when they read the story, they are already thinking good things.

Now, as you give them the premise/pitch, do not use the memorized version you used. Just give them the basics.

Finally, make sure in the last section to mention the other projects you are working on and can't wait to share these ideas with them as well. Also, if you are only sending a partial, tell them that you would very much love to send them a full manuscript. You can also make sure to tell them to call you if they have additional questions or want to see more. Be accessible!

And one last thing. Send it IMMEDIATELY after the conference. DO NOT go home and start edits or want to send it though your critique group one more time. It should have been ready when you pitched. Even if the editor or agent said that he or she would not get to it immediately because they are taking a couple of weeks off, it will be in the email AND they will see the time stamp of when you sent it. This shows follow through.

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