Whether you’re trying to get an agent or a publisher, you need a query letter. Here’s the first thing you need to know: It should not be longer than one page.
In your one-page letter you are trying to convey a great deal of information and there is a protocol as to how agents and publishers expect it to be presented. Here are the basics:
*Use standard font, such as Times New Roman 12 point. Do not get cutesy!
*At the top and close of the letter be sure to include your contact information: full name, full address, phone number with area code, email, and website (if applicable)
*Address the agent or editor by name, not “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Editor.” And double check that you spelled his/her name correctly. Be sure you are referencing the most up-to-date resource for accurate contact information.
*Be sure to follow submission guidelines to the letter. If the person wants snail mail submissions only then don’t email. Duh! Be sure to include a SASE if you are sending a snail mail query.
*Stick to three-paragraph rule (see below).
*Thank the agent or editor for his/her time and attention. And be sure you are approaching the right people. If this person does not deal with your genre or is currently not accepting submissions, then you are wasting your time. Do NOT follow up. If they are interested, they will be in touch.
Okay, so here’s the breakdown:
Paragraph 1=Introduce yourself and any credentials you have, such as writing awards, published books and/or articles, and a popular blog or huge Twitter following. This shows you already have a platform.
Paragraph 2=Summarize your book, including a compelling description, word count, and genre. Needless to say, your book should be written before you begin to pitch it. If this is part of a series be sure to mention it.
Paragraph 3=Closing paragraph to thank person for his/her time and any other info you want to mention.