The Writer's Digest Guide To Query Letters

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-01-02
  • Publisher: Writers Digest Books

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Make That Crucial, Positive First ImpressionAnyone who’s researched the marketplace knows: The path to publication begins with your query letter. If your query is weak, unfocused, or uninspired, an editor or agent won’t even bother to request your article, novel manuscript, or nonfiction book proposal. But a well-crafted, compelling query sent to the right editor or agent is an essential sales tool for fiction writers and the most effective way for nonfiction writers to pre-sell your idea.In this book, professional freelance writer and magazine editor Wendy Burt-Thomas shares practical advice on how to craft persuasive letters that connect with editors and agents and ultimately generate sales for you. You’ll learn how to: Conduct targeted research to find suitable editors and agents Hook an editor with a tantalizing lead and shape a summary that compels editors to buy Select the strongest slant for your book or article Use research and interview shortcuts that keep your query prep profitable Make your query rejection-proof by weeding out subtle mistakes that can sabotage your project Communicate your author platform and sell yourself as the best writer for the subject Complete with dozens of sample queries - some that landed article assignments, agents, or book deals, and others that never stood a chance - this book offers you a comprehensive strategy for presenting your writing ideas in a way that will increase your chances of publication. Though the title may lead some to believe it’s strictly to be shelved as a reference manual, The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters is a smooth read from cover to cover.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Up for the Challenge?p. 1
What's a Query Anyway?p. 1
Why Use a Query Letter?p. 2
Who Writes Queries?p. 3
Knowing When You're Readyp. 3
The Ever-Evolving Query Letterp. 4
Computersp. 4
The Webp. 5
E-mailp. 5
Increased Foreign Correspondencep. 6
Keeping Track Of Submissionsp. 7
Query Basicsp. 9
Thou Shalt Look Professionalp. 10
Include an SASE (If You're Querying by Snail Mail)p. 11
Address Your Query to the Right Editor or Agent, With the Right Titlep. 11
Format Your Query According to Industry Standardsp. 12
Spell the Magazine, Agency, or Publishing House Correctly and Get Its Address Rightp. 12
Thou Shalt Pitch a Great Leadp. 12
Thou Shalt Tailor Your Query to the Magazinep. 14
Thou Shalt Offer a Fresh Ideap. 16
Thou Shalt Be Creative in Your Presentationp. 20
Thou Shalt Tighten Your Query Anglep. 21
Thou Shalt Sweeten the Potp. 22
Photos, Graphics, Illustrations, or Renderingsp. 22
Sidebars and Sidelightsp. 24
The Giveawayp. 24
Thou Shalt Not Propose the Impossiblep. 26
Failure to Deliverp. 26
Short Turnaroundsp. 26
Impossible Word Countsp. 27
Thou Shalt Show Credentialsp. 27
Thou Shalt Have Funp. 31
Article Queriesp. 34
Components Of A Queryp. 34
The Opening Hookp. 34
The Supporting Detailsp. 35
Your Qualificationsp. 35
The Thank-Youp. 35
Identifying Your Marketp. 35
Decoding Writer's Guidelinesp. 39
Whom to Contactp. 40
How to Contactp. 40
Web Sitep. 40
Preferred Word Countp. 41
Types of Material Acceptedp. 41
Percent of Freelance Material Acceptedp. 41
Publication Frequencyp. 41
Circulationp. 42
Founding Datep. 42
Pay Ratesp. 43
Payment Termsp. 43
Number of Manuscripts Purchased Each Yearp. 43
Information on Photo Submissionsp. 44
If the Magazine Has Online Versionsp. 44
Rights Purchasedp. 44
Columns/Departmentsp. 44
Notes From the Editorp. 45
General Information About the Magazinep. 46
If Byline/Bio Is Givenp. 46
Lead Timep. 47
If Simultaneous Submissions Are Acceptedp. 47
How to Receive a Sample Copyp. 47
Kill Feep. 48
Visits Per Monthp. 48
Special Issuesp. 48
Response Timep. 48
If Reprints Are Acceptedp. 48
Famous People Who Have Contributedp. 49
If the Publication Pays for Writer's Expensesp. 49
Other Market Resourcesp. 49
Knowing What Editors Wantp. 50
Impress an Editor With ...p. 51
Depress an Editor With ...p. 54
Nonfiction Book Queriesp. 72
Query vs. Proposalp. 72
The Opening Hookp. 73
The Supporting Detailsp. 73
Your Qualificationsp. 74
The Summaryp. 74
The Thank-You and Request to Send the Proposalp. 75
Book Proposalsp. 75
Key Components of a Nonfiction Book Proposalp. 76
Choosing a Publisherp. 82
Catch a Book Editor's Eye With ...p. 83
Ensure an Editor Will Overlook You By ...p. 97
Special Nonfiction Book Considerationsp. 102
Novel Queriesp. 122
Understanding the Fiction Queryp. 122
The Credentials Questionp. 123
Common Novel Query Mistakesp. 125
Components of a Novel Synopsisp. 132
Romancep. 135
Literaryp. 137
Mysteryp. 138
Thriller/Suspensep. 139
Speculativep. 139
Children'sp. 142
Cross-Genrep. 143
Agent Queriesp. 145
Components of an Agent Query Letterp. 148
Landing Agent Representationp. 170
Approach With Cautionp. 172
Choosing Wiselyp. 174
Becoming the Model Clientp. 177
Have a Platformp. 177
Understand the Business and Its Processesp. 178
Be Willing to Rewritep. 178
Respect Your Agent's Opinionsp. 178
Have a Book Deal With a Publisherp. 180
Have Incredible Talent (Without the Ego)p. 181
Have Patiencep. 181
Strive for More Than One Bookp. 181
Be Careful With Referralsp. 183
A Client Only a Mother Could Lovep. 184
Sending Unfocused Queriesp. 184
Not Following Through on Deadlinesp. 184
Including Irrelevant Information in Your Queryp. 184
Lying/Exaggeratingp. 185
Naggingp. 185
Pushing for Too Much Controlp. 185
Expectating an Unrealistic Advance and Royaltiesp. 185
Following Upp. 189
Magazine Article Queriesp. 189
Queries to Agentsp. 191
Queries to Book Publishersp. 192
Interpreting Rejection Letters (And the Coded Phrases Within Them)p. 192
Responding to an Acceptance or Rejectionp. 198
Other Forms of Correspondencep. 202
Cover Lettersp. 202
Thank-You Notesp. 203
Turning Down an Assignmentp. 205
Pulling an Article Submissionp. 206
Requesting Information From a Sourcep. 207
Complaining to an Editorp. 210
Following Up on a "Maybe"p. 211
Following Up on Paymentp. 212
Some Parting Wordsp. 213
Resourcesp. 214
Glossary of Termsp. 214
For Further Studyp. 216
Trade Magazinesp. 216
Books and Reference Guidesp. 217
Web Sitesp. 218
E-Zinesp. 218
Organizations and Genre Groupsp. 218
Online Writing Coursesp. 218
Indexp. 221
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