Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Queries and Cover Letters

You’ve written a story. Now it’s time to send it out. How do you query a publisher? What do you say in your letter? Should you send a query or a cover letter and what is the difference? In her article, “Rites of Submission: Cover Letters and Query Letters,” written by Jacqueline K. Ogburn on the Underdown blog, Ogburn lists samples of what to do and what NOT to do when writing queries and cover letters and common mistakes that some writers make.
Regarding cover letters, she writes: So what is a good cover letter? First it is a courtesy. As an editor, I did find submissions that lacked a cover letter a bit rude, like a phone caller who doesn't bother saying hello or identifying themselves before launching into the conversation.
On query letters, she writes: A good query letter is a different beast. Simplicity is still a prime virtue, but a query letter is a come-on; it should entice the editor to read more. It should give a taste of your book, a description of what it is, what is special about it, and it should be less than one page long.
So dust up your manuscript, polish it, and send it on its way. Query or cover letter? That’s up to you. Good luck!
San Antonio River Walk Christmas

You wouldn't expect to pick up a violin, never having played and appear the next day at Carnegie Hall as a soloist. Writing is not so different. It takes practice and learning. -- Jean Karl

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