So Take a Letter, Maria

Query Tips

Betsy Lerner

45bf51994e779d764df10e907e30a7bbI’m sorry, but it’s time to go back to basics. I have been receiving the most cuckoo for cocoa puffs query letters lately. It’s like watching a person shoot himself in the head instead of pitching his book. I can see the blood spatter on the wall.

I’ve said a zillion times: the letter has to be professional, but should give a sense of the writer’s style or sensibility. The letter should be three paragraphs: 1) introduce the project; 2) expand on it in an interesting way via the themes or good comps or most salient details  (no plot points please!);  and 3) your credentials. Writers often ask me, what if I don’t have any credentials? I always answer: get some! What if we can’t, they cry? It’s strange to think that you can sell a book before you’ve ever sold a story or an article. THough stranger things have…

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