What is a query letter? It's a crucial part of the publishing process (unless you're self publishing, that is). And it can make or break you. Whether the letter is successful or not, you will cry.
This is what good old Wikipedia has to say about query letters:Seems nice and easy enough, right? A very clean and clear cut business all in all.
A query letter is a formal letter sent to magazine editors, literary agents and sometimes publishing houses or companies. Writers write query letters to propose writing ideas.
For example, a standard requested format for a manuscript query letter to a literary agent could be approximately 200 - 400 words, expressing the following information:
The literary agent would then decide whether to contact the author and request to see the manuscript, based on the contents of the query letter. In this sense, the query letter is an author's first step towards getting his/her manuscript published.
- The topic of the work
- A short description of the plot
- A short bio of the author
- The target audience
Don't let this simple description fool you.
(And don't let my statement above scare you.)
Elana is here to help.
And this is how.
Get it. It's free (and join the mailing list).
You can also go to Elana's "Writing a Query Letter" page on her blog to get some great, step-by-step query information. Like this (directly from her blog):
So fear not aspiring authors!
Seriously. Elana has got you covered.
(Or if you didn't fear the query in the first place, good on ya. Maybe you're already familiar with Elana's helpful tips?)
On top of all this, Elana is a founding author of QueryTracker Blog which is a recourse to research agents and publishers (those people who receive your query letters) and which helps to keep track of your queries. And it's free. (Again with the free!) Watch this short video to learn more about QueryTracker.
So check out these resources about querying! And Remember; they're free! (And it could be the difference between you and those J. K. Rowling millions, right? [One of these Saturdays I should do a post on author myths...].)