I’m sorry, but it’s time to go back to basics. I have been receiving the most cuckoo for cocoa puffs query letters lately. It’s like watching a person shoot himself in the head instead of pitching his book. I can see the blood spatter on the wall.
I’ve said a zillion times: the letter has to be professional, but should give a sense of the writer’s style or sensibility. The letter should be three paragraphs: 1) introduce the project; 2) expand on it in an interesting way via the themes or good comps or most salient details (no plot points please!); and 3) your credentials. Writers often ask me, what if I don’t have any credentials? I always answer: get some! What if we can’t, they cry? It’s strange to think that you can sell a book before you’ve ever sold a story or an article. THough stranger things have happened. Nothing is impossible, but you will look a lot more attractive with some writing credentials. Remember too: We’re not best friends, this isn’t a grant proposal, and I’m not your therapist. In other words, don’t act too chummy, don’t be flat, and don’t tell me your life story. Less is more when query letters are concerned. Oh, and have a memorable and selling title — this goes a long ways.
If you want to send in a query letter, I’ll critique it. And I will be brutal. 😉
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