When it comes to writing a query letter, there are several things that you want to make sure that you do. These are all important steps that you should be taking whenever you ask “how to write a query letter” to anyone whether that be a potential agent or the publisher themselves. Let’s take a look at each of them one by one.
DO Personalize Your Letter
The first thing to make sure that you do is personalize your letter. That means that you track down the editor at the publishing house that handles the type of fiction or nonfiction that you are submitting. Most publishing houses have a dozen or so editors that handle specific genres or types of submissions. While your work will still probably be going to the slush pile, they will consider you much more professional when they see their name on if it gets to them. For agents, you make sure that you find agents that accept the type of work you are doing.
DO Include Past Writing Credits
You should include past writing credits as long as they are professional. For example, if you had a story published in your college newspaper, then you don’t want to mention it. But if you had a story accepted and published in the New Yorker; that is a much different proposition. Mention any other books that you have had published with traditional publishers and any major magazine publishing credits you have.
DO Include Several Methods of Contacting You
Make sure that you include several methods that allow them to contact you when they need to. For example, you should include your telephone numbers as well as your email address. This gives the agent or publisher the choice of how they want to contact you as well as several options that they need to get hold of you right away.
DO Summarize Your Book in an Exciting Way
You definitely want to include a summary of your book that is exciting and sells it to the agent or publisher. This should be no more than a paragraph or two and every word should be chosen to make it sound like a book that no one could pass up reading much less acquiring. You don’t want to get too creative though and try to write the query letter from a character’s point of view or something like that.
DO Include Your Social Media Reach
One thing that is a relatively new thing when it comes to writing query letters is making sure that you include your social media reach with each letter. This should be a very small note at the end of the query that lets the agent or publisher know that you are willing to do your own marketing and that you have X amount of Twitter followers and X amount of Facebook friends. Goodreads followers may be another useful statistic to include. However, unless you have a significant amount of followers in any of those, then you should leave this out altogether.