Tag Archive: query letter

Want to be published? Learn to query

Every now and then someone mistakes me for a person with a clue and asks how to approach a publisher about a book. There are no grand secrets — by now everyone knows that — just some basics on how to get started. In a series of posts last year I outlined how my first book landed on shelves, but skip all that for now, because I want to get to probably the most important part of the process aside from the writing itself: Your query letter. A query letter is simple, in theory. It’s you saying to an agent or publisher, “Hey, want to see my book?” Not so simple in practice, though. I won’t get into the details because other people have done…
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Step by step, it comes together

I think I’m close to ready to begin pitching my next book. This one is a middle grade adventure novel in the spirit of Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles. You might remember them from when you were a kid. Earlier this week I finished the umpteenth or so draft of my query letter (I talk more about queries here), and last night I think I nailed down a pretty solid synopsis. They’re both essential ingredients in getting the attention of an agent. Nailing them is vital. Of course, the best query in the world doesn’t mean squat if your book has glaring flaws. That means I have to give the first three chapters one last pass to ensure I’m not missing something that will trip up…
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How I got published, part 3 – The Query

Yesterday I talked about the process by which Jim and I began writing A Year of Hitchcock: 52 Weeks with the Master of Suspense. Week in and week out we were either in front of the TV watching Hitchcock’s work or, more often than not, in front of our keyboards writing, revising, and writing some more. It was midway through the year when we knew we had something publishable on our hands. By this time we has also developed an inertia that wasn’t going to break down, so we pulled the series offline and continued working on the same schedule we had set for ourselves at the start of the year. Now here’s where we broke ranks with how many nonfiction books are traditionally pitched…
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