As writers, one would think this would be easy, right up our alley, so-to-speak. But, the fact is, writing a query letter is a very specific and formal process, one that can leave many writers frustrated and unsure.
I’ve worked with many talented writers who have been tripped-up by or struggled with the process of writing query letters, myself included! We’ve all been there.
The good news is that query letter writing is a process and processes can be learned.
Every writer who hopes to see their work published needs to know how to write a smart and effective query letter.
The #1 purpose of the query letter is to promote.
Here is where the entrepreneur in you needs to come out. And, as a writer and freelancer, you are an entrepreneur. As a matter of fact, the connection is so intimate that I’m currently in the process of writing a piece, called “Writers and Entrepreneurs – A Marriage!”.
Your query letter is your opportunity to sell yourself and your writing. It’s your pitch. To get your writing “in the door”, you first need to get the attention of someone who is in a position to take it all the way to print, such as an agent or an editor.
While occasionally it works out that a writer is able to accomplish this through networking or an already published writer, most often the query letter is the writers only means of introduction. And, chances are, even if you are fortunate enough to establish connections, you will still need to submit query letters many times throughout your writing career.
While there is no guarantee you’ll sell a number one best seller with your first query letter upon completion of this course, you will have the knowledge and information you need to learn how to write smart, effective query letters, thus increasing your chances of getting assignments with those publishers with whom your writing is a good fit.
Just remember – Practice makes progress!
Coming up in Part Two: The Key Components of Query Letters That Work
Now for a bit about rejection . . .
Know that all writers deal with rejection. ALL writers!
No one likes it. It’s not pleasant. But, rejection is a normal part of the process in any writing career.
Just take a look through Rotten Rejections: The Letters That Publishers Wish They’d Never Sent by Andre Bernard, and you can read actual rejection letters received by such authors as James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and Jane Austen.
Celebrate your 1st rejection . . . and every single one you receive thereafter. After all, each one just puts you one step closer to your next published work!
I, myself, decoupaged an antique table of mine with the rejection letters I’ve received over the years. ( . . . even before Augusten Burroughs told of his mother doing this, in his book Running with Scissors: A Memoir ). :o)
Don’t ever let a rejection slow you down! Keep writing and keep submitting!
Some rejections can even be a good sign; encouraging and valuable . . .
to be continued . . .
STILL TO COME IN THE “QUERY LETTERS THAT WORK” MINI-COURSE:
- Key Components of Query Letters That Work
- Key Traits and Characteristics of Winning Query Letters
- What to Do if You’ve Never Been Published and Don’t Have Any Writing Credentials
- A Word to the Wise: Important Do’s and Don’ts – Tips and Warnings
- Sample Query Letters
- Final Thoughts: Bringing It All Together & Things to Remember