You may now download this article to your Kindle!
Purple Crayon Bookstores Covers letters and query letters are a source of great anxiety for writers. Because the submission process seems so mysterious, cover letters are viewed as talismans or lucky charms, the magic object that will open the door leading to publication, fame and fortune.
A terrific cover letter never sold a bad manuscript, and many lovely books have sold in spite of their cover letters. Query letters are trickier, because they are the proverbial foot in the door.
So what is a good cover letter?
First it is a courtesy. As an editor, I did find submissions that lacked a cover letter a bit rude, like a phone caller who doesn't bother saying hello or identifying themselves before launching into the conversation.
Like any business letter, it should include your name and address. The text should have the title of your manuscript and what type of book -- picture book, easy-to-read, nonfiction, etc. It should be simple and direct and signed. A good query letter is a different beast.
Simplicity is still a prime virtue, but a query letter is a come-on; it should entice the editor to read more. It should give a taste of your book, a description of what it is, what is special about it, and it should be less than one page long.
I hear skeptical questions from the back of the room: Following one of the basic rules of good writing to show, not tell, I have written a selection of cover letters and a query to identify common approaches and problems.
Sample Cover Letters For some of the samples, I made up book titles for imaginary manuscripts. Spinelli did not write these letters, I am merely using his book as an example.
The book is readily available, so you can check and see if my descriptions are good. The first letter, the bad example with an imaginary manuscript, has footnotes to the common mistakes, which you may jump to if you wish. With the encouragement of my dear family, I finally wrote them down and collected them into a book.
I did work on the high school newspaper, but I don't suppose that counts. As soon as I have some, I will send them along. I also took it to my ten-year-old son's class at school and the children there were equally enthusiastic.
Query letters? Do literary agents really read them? Agents take queries very seriously, and yes, they really do read them. It’s not some universal rumor that agents have perpetuated because they all have a secret fetish for being bombarded with mail. There are rules for writing numbers in fiction. Learn when to use numerals and when to write out numbers. Learn the conventions for using numbers in novels. This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. (March ) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message).
This book has definite kid appeal! K ids today face a tough world, and this book will teach them about courage and good manners in a fun way. I have enclosed the address of the National Headquarters of the Ant Farmers' Association of America, since I am sure they will be interested in a book that features so many ants.
His portrait of Anthony is enclosed. Since he is family, he will give you a good price. The Greeting of a Cover Letter Even when you have composed the perfect cover letter to send with your manuscript, and you have done your homework and chosen the perfect publisher to submit it to, one tiny problem remains.
What do you put in the greeting of your letter? You know, the part that comes after the date and address, and begins with "Dear. It's not always possible to find out the name of the person reading submissions at a particular house. How do you address an unknown person who is going to be doing something as personal as reading your work?Query Letter - A former literary agent and former AAR member reveals how to write an agent query that gets top literary agents reading your book.
shootingstar July 8, at pm. I am a rookie writer and procrastinating is my first name. So I was thrilled to find your article on writing the perfect query letter and links to finding the right literary agent. How to Write a Letter of Recommendation. Writing a recommendation letter may seem like a daunting task.
Here are some guidelines that can help you get the style, tone, content, and presentation of your letter . shootingstar July 8, at pm. I am a rookie writer and procrastinating is my first name. So I was thrilled to find your article on writing the perfect query letter and links to finding the right literary agent.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson's free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine teaches how to get organized, improve your craft, and market your fiction.
This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. (March ) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message).