Publishing Child Book e-Course

How to Write a Query Letter

With a query letter you don’t send a full proposal or (sample) manuscript. As the name implies, a query letter is just that: a query. It’s essentially the same as a “sales letter”. It’s like the “junk mail” that you receive in your mailbox. You want to grab the editor’s attention with a good opening paragraph. The objective is to get the editor interested enough to want to read the rest of your query letter and then to read your manuscript.

In the second paragraph you describe the theme and market for your book. It should tell what your book is about and answer the question: “Why should I publish this particular book, and not another?”

In third and final paragraph, you establish your credibility. You want to convince the editor that you are just the right person to write this particular book.

You should close your query letter with a “call to action”. Namely, ask the editor if you can send your completed manuscript to him or her. Make sure to be specific and to provide a self-addressed stamped envelope. You could even include a reply card. The point is to make it as easy as possible for the editor to say “YES” and to contact you.

TIP: While some publishers accept email queries, “snail mail” is still the most reliable means of communication. In this age of information overload and spam, email may go ignored. So, to be sure, send your query letter by regular surface mail.

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