24 Aug

The Importance of a Query Letter

Whether you decide to get a review of your manuscript from Beta|Read, or if you choose to take traditional routes, publishers are still going to want to know the information that is contained in a query letter. This simple one to three paragraph document serves as the initial sales pitch for your work and can be the “thing” that drastically impacts the outcome of your effort. A query letter is as much a pitch for your book as it is for you as an author.

A query letter consists of paragraph introducing the author, another on the story in the manuscript, and concludes with a summation and final pitch to capture the interest of the reader. A query letter quickly exposes your audience to your skills as a writer, your ability to promote your own work, and presents an impression of the inherent risks or opportunities that you present as an author.

Most agents and publishers receive hundreds of submissions a year if not thousands. They employ “gatekeepers” that are specially trained human filters that are rarely victims of smoke screen gimmicks or authors who turn themselves into a used car salesman. Good writing stands on its own and does not require being over-sold in order to stand apart from other submissions.

Beta|Read is exploring the options forĀ a query letter review service. The intent of this service is to catch any unintentional copy editing errors in the letter, but also offer feedback on ways to improve the overall presentation. We at Beta|Read are committed to helping writers succeed, but especially those who are dedicated to their craft and to the improvement of the publishing industry. Our relationship with experienced individuals and companies in the publishing industry gives us a unique insight into what is desirable in a compelling query letter. We hope to leverage that in the not so distant future.

While you are waiting for your review to come back from Beta|Read, don’t neglect the importance of a query letter.

Here are some great links to sites going into more depth on what is in a good query letter, as well as samples of good query letters:

The Query Letter – Writers Digest

How to Write a Darn Good Query Letter – NY Editors