Brian Knack reports with seven tips:
"A good query letter is brief, no more than one page...[meaning] a few hundred words–not one page crammed from top to bottom with narrow margins...[W]rite a 'verbal snapshot' of the book in dynamic, fascinating language...Everything in the query letter, including the credentials section if there is one, MUST relate to your book and your unique ability to write it. Telling the agent all about yourself in an attempt to gain the agent’s sympathy is the kiss of death...Agents don’t care what your friends and family thought — it’s irrelevant to the all-important question of whether they think they can sell your book...'This book will be a surefire bestseller!' is not a line to include in your query...Writing a few articles for local newspapers for no pay doesn’t count as a writing credential. The same goes for recipes in your parish cookbook or a letter printed in the Washington Post or a story posted on a website no one has heard of or a win in a contest conducted by a tiny webzine. What counts is writing you were PAID to do, or writing for a venue the agent will recognize...Many debut writers don’t have anything resembling a writing resume. If that’s the case for you, just don’t mention credentials at all in your query. A good agent won’t overlook a good pitch just because the writer has no publishing credits...Concentrate on the book you’re trying to sell. If you plan on writing [follow-ups], or have other manuscripts available, mention this at the end of the query — but query for one book at a time."
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