I met a writer at a conference who said he sent 300 query letters before self-publishing. I read some of his work, he is a good writer; but is writing 300 query letters a good strategy? Based on my research over the past several years, I would say that quality is always better than quantity.
This may even be the motto of my life.
I am not an expert on writing query letters, but I have found some:
True confessions time!
After researching Agencies, http://www.agentquery.com/ I sent three letters for my first novel Seeing Scarlet before beginning yet another round of rewrites. The rewrites are my decision, because I know I can better. Of the three letters sent, I received one request for a full manuscript. Not bad odds.
For my second, not quite completed novel, I sent one letter and received a very nice rejection. By that, I mean, several paragraphs, which were both encouraging and offered an explanation about why she could not take on the novel.
What is the consensus? What do they want?
Send it to the right agent, someone who represents your genre and is actively seeking new authors.
No typos or grammatical errors.
- If your letter is boring, the assumption is that your novel will be as well.
- Brevity: agents are busy.
- No gimmicks, but a good hook doe not hurt.
- Answer the question: what is your story and why are you qualified to write it?
If you think have ever been in involved in a job search and who hasn’t, it’s not unlike writing a cover letter, if yours stinks, no one will read your résumé or your novel in this case, no matter how great it is.
Oh, and most importantly, double-check the spelling of the name of the Agency and Agent. They say this actually happens, but it won’t get you very far.
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