Writing Query Letters that Count -- Close the Deal with Your First Letter!
Your query letter can be a deal maker or a deal breaker. So, if your query letter just lies there, you've killed the sale immediately or your story or novel immediately. If you want that story -- your baby -- to be read, reach out of that query letter, grab the publisher, editor or literary agent by the neck and say, "Hey, you absolutely have to have this story!"Query letters that begin with "Hello, My name is. . ." have as much chance of selling as vacation trips to Baghdad. Remember, your query is like a résumé's cover letter, and if you're in a competitive industry, that cover will sell you far more than the resume will. So, you have to grab the reader with your first sentence. To do this, make him believe that he desperately needs what you're selling. Following are a few tips on how to do it.
First, begin by saying why your story will be easy to sell. Publishers have to sell books, so this is their first priority. Remember, though, you have to do it gracefully. Don't come off sounding arrogant. When I was selling my novel, The League, I started my query with I have a novel that has a target audience of over 15 millions rabid fans. This audience is people who play fantasy football, but I didn't reveal this until a few sentences into the letter. I wanted to pull the publisher or editor in, the same way I lead my suspense reader forward in my novel (throw out something fantastic, then slow down and build to your next exciting piece). Once I get to the part about how every fantasy football fan will race to buy my book, I follow up by saying that it is the first-ever published work with a plot that surrounds this exciting game. I also throw in that in addition to these 15 million fans, all sports and suspense fans will want to read it because of how unique it is.
Next, toss in a few key parts of your synopsis, reminding the reader that the entire synopsis is included or attached, if you're e-mailing your query, which is almost always acceptable today. Note, what you decide to include should be hot, making the reader say, Wow.
Finally, finish your query by telling the person how willing you are to be involved in the promotion of your story. Don't oversell; just tell her that you will do whatever it takes to make your book successful. When signing, don't forget a polite closing and all of your contact information. Remember, no matter how good your story and your query are, it's still a game of sales. Send out dozens of queries at a time. It won't be long before people start asking for your story or novel.
Mark Barnes is the author of the new novel, The League, the first work of fiction, based on fantasy football. He is also an investment real estate and home loan finance expert. Learn more about his suspense thriller at http://www.sportsnovels.com. Get his free mortgage finance course at http://www.winningthemortgagegame.com
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