Just noticed this link from Tess Gerritsens’ blog – it does refer to Crime Fiction, but the principles seem logical and would apply to most other Query Letters.
Three take-aways for me;
* One suggestion I have NOT used before, is to add the first page of the text to the end of your query letter which is otherwise short. Great idea – and yes, it does make sense – this is the hooky bit for the reader, it should be good. Even if you have sent the first 3 chapters in hard copy, if the agent/editor cannot get past page one, then why should they read the rest?
* Focus on agents and/or publishers who accept query letters by e-mail. Even in the UK this does make sense. And if they want to see your partial, you label it up as ‘Requested Material’ to a specific named person and hopefully save time out of the slush pile.
* Create a master listing of agents/publishers who deal in the same fiction you love to read and are actively writing. I have done this using an Excel spreadsheet for the crime fiction, but hey, science girl. The list on the link is to US crime fiction agents, but you get the idea. Yes, it is a pain at the beginning but it means that you are not always diving into the Writers and Artists Yearbook for details. Always check what they are looking for on their website before sending – some UK agents always want partials. In the US it tends to be only query letters -including Harlequin US and Canada.
These are your customers who are looking for the brilliant book which is going to make them – and you – scads of dosh. And get you in print.
Quote from author Marcus Sakey; New ideas are the lace lingerie of writing, but novels aren’t made of one-night stands. Like any relationship, commitment is key.
What is playing on my YouTube right now? Warner Books Author Susan Crandall on Writing; http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=YDtUVyZkrsI&feature=PlayList&p=5A95B47B2EBD0A39&index=0