Query and cover letters are not fun, but they are necessary evils. I don’t know of anyone who has ever gotten away without writing a single one. However, in order to avoid sounding naive, lazy, inexperienced, or just plain crazy, avoid these common mistakes:
- First of all: Find out if the publisher interested in your genre / type of manuscript. Sending out a question about the type of books they are interested in, shows clearly that you did not do your homework and did not even read their website / submission guidelines … Why should they be interested in publishing your book, if you are not even interested in their publishing genres.
- Address the letter to the correct person.
Nothing is more annoying than getting a letter addressed to someone else, or addressed to the wrong agency / publishing house, or without a salutation or to the name of the editor / publisher.
- Do not make unrealistic claims about your story.
Your book might become a best-seller someday, but you have no way of knowing that. However, if you already have (in writing) a deal from a charity to purchase 10,000 copies or you self-published and sold 45,000 e-books or you’ve already sold the rights in 15 other countries – that information is worth including.
- Do not make demands.
You can ask things politely, but don’t tell me that I have to print this, or that I have to respond by a certain date, or that I have to give you XXX royalty or … I don’t know about you, but nothing irks me more than a bossy letter from a stranger.
Read the whole post “The Poorly Written Query”
The author describes herself as “Editor/Publisher, Location: Texas, United States and: overworked, underpaid, with a teething tantrum-throwing toddler. What I Do: Talk about writing, submitting, publishing, and marketing children’s books and teen books.”
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