Not everyone wants to self-publish their book on the Kindle. Many writers contact me who want to go the traditional publishing route.
You should, if you have the patience. You’ll learn a great deal about writing, so it’s highly worth it, no matter what happens with your book. I learned more from my first book editor at MacDonald-Futura than I’ve learned from anyone since.
If you’re new to traditional publishing, you get an editor’s or agent’s attention via a query letter. Writing queries is an art. The idea is to get someone eager to read your book.
Writers spend days — months in some cases — sweating over their query letters. (Tip: if it takes you that long, rethink your book. You should be able to tell the story in a paragraph.)
Here’s an example of a wonderful query, Query Shark: #224:
“‘The Lone Star sticks are lousy with vintage architecture begging to be rehabbed’ makes me weak at the knees with joy. This is exactly the kind of sentence that SHOWS the writer is in command of her craft”
Few writers manage to differentiate their characters as well as this is a query letter:
* “She’s short, round, and pushing forty, but Julia Kalas is a damned good criminal”;
* “Azula’s hard-nosed police chief Teresa Hallstedt” (the police chief is a WOMAN — marvelous opportunities for conflict);
* ” The bar’s owner, retired fighter Hector Guerra”…
Listen, I WANT TO READ THIS BOOK, because of the characters. I adore them. Very reminiscent of Donald Westlake.
This query is very well done. As Query Shark says, “So, is this query perfect? No. But it does EXACTLY what it is supposed to do: make me want to read more. This gets a request for a full manuscript by return email.”
If you’re writing a book, focus on differentiating your characters. Build-in conflict, just because of who those characters are. If you do that, not only will you write a wonderful query letter, you’ll write a great book.
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