You are ready to publish? Congratulations! But are you prepared to face the literary gauntlet? The Herrick Library Get Published! 2016 conversation continues from last week’s fantastically titled Session I with insights from all the presenters on what constitutes the write right and wrong ways to approach a publisher or literary agent.
Above All Else—The Query
Query letters are similar to the cover letter which accompanies the curriculum vitae or résumé in a job application. How hard can a letter be? You may ask. The panelists caution that the letter is the first thing a potential editor or publisher sees of your work—some writers are rejected solely on the basis of a poor cover letter. Think of it like a dating profile—you’ve got to put forth the best version of you (and your work) possible. The best way to learn is by example…and here is a definite worst-case scenario:
Count the Mistakes in this Sample Query Letter
Dear Meow Mewo Productions:
I know you aren’t excepting submissions right now, but I have a number one best seller which will make the DaVinci Cod weep with envy. You would be a fool not to hear me out. I have thousands of pages of notes and all I need is a $50,000 advance to begin writing. I have sent my summary to several of your competitors, such as Harlequin Romance, Field-N-Stream, and Publisher’s Clearing House, so time is of the essence. He who bites first gets the fish. Continue reading QUERY ME! QUERY ME REAL GOOD!