Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tales from the Editor's Desk - Query Letters

You’re Your Own Book Cover - From the Desk of Barbara Ardinger

Welcome to my blog column. As a published author (seven books) and experienced freelance editor (more than two hundred books), I’ve worked with authors who haven’t had an English class since, say, sixth grade but have good ideas and feel driven to write a book. Sound familiar? As we go through the year together, I’ll be giving you tips that will help you write better.

Let’s assume for now that you’ve got what you think is a book and someone tells you to find a literary agent or a publisher. This is when you write a query letter. Nowadays, that’s usually an email. I also receive numerous queries from authors like you. What does your query tell a literary agent, an acquisitions editor, or a freelance editor about you? If your query looks like the one below (which my agent received), it means you can’t spell and probably can’t think clearly, either. This does not make a good first impression!

Here’s the query:

Hello ther,
My name is [redacted ] and i liv in [redacted]. Im 25, almost 26, and ive written three fiction novels. One sci-fi and the other, what ive been told is, “horror fantasy.” i am looking for a literality agent, as i’m in this for the long hall. i don’t want to write just one fiction novel, i want to write as many as i can in my life time. This is my passion, this is what i live for. this is what i am.

Tips: Always be sure to spell check everything you write. Don’t write in “text-speak.” If you need help to write a good query, get help.