Thursday, November 12, 2009

That Awful Query Letter

Unfortunately, unless you're a Stephen King or Mary Higgins Clark, or one of the other best selling authors, you'll have to write and mail that awful query letter someday. Let me assure you, seasoned writers hate them as much as you do. I know I do. Sometimes I think it's easier to write the book than the query letter. And then when you've sweated blood and think it's the best you can do, you send it off only to be ignored or worse still, they write you back and criticize what you suffered to write.

It happened to me this week and believe it on not I had to laugh. I admit that when I sweat and cry and work and finally produce a query, I send it to more than one editor or publisher. I do change the name to who it goes to and I make sure I have the right company named in the body of the letter.

I sent the same query letter to two different publishers a few weeks ago and both had asked for the manuscript with the query. I got a reply from both of them this week.

The first one said, we liked the way you presented your story in your query and we read the entire manuscript. On the basis of this, we would like to offer you a contract, if you would be interested. (Duh! I'm not crazy. I emailed them right back and said I'd be thrilled to get the contract. They emailed it and had me download a copy. I signed it and mailed it back today.)

From the second publisher I got a note that said to the effect that they couldn't get past the bad query and they would not be interested in publishing my book. (Oh, how I wanted to send them a copy of the email from the other publisher. Of course, I didn't. I might want to query them again sometime, maybe, someday, in the future, when I run out of other places to query.)

So it goes in the publishing world.

Write that query to the best of your ability, address it to a specific editor, and take your chances. And expect that some editors will like it and others won't like it at all. It all goes back to that age old saying - 'One man's junk, is another man's treasure.'


1 comment:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Congratulations, Lynette! I can't wait to read your next book.

Mystery Writing is Murder