Today I’m focusing on personalizing the query letter. In part one we looked at the subject line. We already know that we need to tell them about the submission but you also need to give the editor/agent a reason to read on. One way is to reassure them that we picked them out of thousands. To make this as clear as possible answer:
- Why did you chose them?
- What on the submission page motivated you to submit your work? Read an article on another website? You follow their blog and something they posted got you thinking they were perfect for you. How did you meet their guidelines?
- What target audience do both of you share? Who would they sell this too? Who will read it? How did you tweak your work to meet your audience?
- Were they looking for a genre? What about your work stands out in this genre? Why is it different than everything that is out there already?
- Was it critique and polished?
I admit I’ve only had a few shorts published and may not know all the answers. In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t. But I will share my first paragraph of my first acceptance if you’d like to take a look.
Here it is:
Time Piece is a Romantic Suspense aimed at the Young Adult audience and is approximately 5800 words. During its creation, my work was critiqued by my circle mates at Scribophile. Because of their feedback, I feel that this work meets your high standard, and will be a good fit for the One More Day Anthology.
The anthology that this was written for had some pretty clear guidelines. I made sure that I mentioned that the piece I submitted followed the guidelines and that it had been critiqued. I didn’t have much else going for me at the time. Looking at it now, I’m cringing over the grammar. Their response was rewrite and resubmit which included a full page of feedback. I did a dorky dance and got to work.
The next one to three paragraphs is the book/story blurb. I’m sure there are tons of suggestion on the internet on this and pitching, log lines, and tag lines. Here’s a few links I’ve found to try on for size: Infinity Publishing, CreateSpace, and Writing 4 Success. Be sure to get some feedback on your blurb before including it in your letter.
Next post it will be what to include in the author bio.
Writers: Anything you do specifically to let the agent/editor know that your work is perfect for them? What have I forgotten?
Book Bloggers: When you’re accepting a book for review, what do you need to know? Genre? Heat level? Target audience?