I had known enough about traditional publishing to know what a “Query” was. It is a one page letter that is supposed to do the following:
- Hook the reader in about your book in the first paragraph.
- Completely describe your book in 2 more paragraphs.
- Describe yourself as an author and why you’re special: which is extra fun when you’ve never published anything.
All of the above has to fit within 1 exact page, including a standard 1940’s-esq greeting with the recipient’s mailing address and the date.
The punch line is that 99% of the time, this “letter” is going in into the body of an email. But it’s a mind- (you-know-what) because you don’t know if some intern is going to cut and paste what you wrote in a Word Document to check to see if it actually fits on one page or not. I wasn’t taking any chances. So all my “queries” even though most were emailed, are sitting on my laptop in full professional business letter format.
Now for extra fun, if you Googled: How to write a query letter, stand back because an avalanche of hits will fall your way. At the end of the day, it’s a business proposal for your book. But it’s also an tease- think movie trailers: In a world…..
The best way to describe what’s in those 2 paragraphs is to look at the back jacket of any book. It’s supposed to tell you enough about the story to get you interested, but it doesn’t tell you everything. And what to tell and what not to tell is as debatable among experts as the beginning of time.
While writing and re-writing and re-writing and re-writing, Forty Times Platinum, I became viciously jealous of musicians, which is very ironic since FTP is about musicians. But all musicians have to do is come up with a stupid 3 minute song. How hard is that?
But when I tried to draw FTP down like a wine reduction into 2 paragraphs, I went into complete panic attack mode and I finally sympathized with song writers and who’s sole job is to hook you in and make you fall in love in those stupid three minutes.
To be continued.