Getting published by a publishing house isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Though it’s not the route I’ve taken today, I used to be published by a publisher and I can tell you that it doesn’t take spending a year in Hogwarts to learn how to spell a publisher into publishing you. It’s also not like the music business, where you often have to have a certain look to get a label’s attention. In publishing, you have to write a good book. After that good book is written, (in fiction, the book has to be written before you seek representation and publication) it’s time to find an agent and/or editor. What you’ll need in order to find an agent/editor is…. a totally kickass query letter.
The Query Letter
A Query Letter is a one page letter that introduces you and your story to your potential agent/publisher. In it, you give a brief bio on your writing history, a snapshot of your book, and what market your book falls into. A Query Letter should not be more than one page. Agents & editors are busy. If you send them a 3 page query letter, chances are they aren’t going to read it. They get tons of queries every day and don’t have the time to read pages of text sent to them from authors whose work they’ve never seen. Keep it short!
Here are a few great websites with Query Letter tips:
- My Query Letters Get Rejected
Another important thing that you must do before querying an agent/editor (publisher) is your homework. Find out what they’re looking for. If you’re writing science fiction and the editor you want to query publishes romance, it’s not in your best interest to query them. Spend some time at the library or the book store and find out who wants what. In the long run it will save you a lot of time, heartache, and frustration.
As an indie, I no longer have to write query letters (insert happy dance here), but if you have to write one, follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way.
If you enjoy my Craft blogs, consider joining my newsletter where I share Craft, as well as publishing news, a fun look behind the books I write, excerpts, and more. Click the link to go to my sign up page: Join Heather’s Newsletter!