Query letters

Woman bored

Don’t Put Me to Sleep!

Hi Rachelle, I’m working on a book proposal, and was wondering if I should interject my personality/humor into it? Or are they usually personality minus? I believe I tend to write better when I can be humorous and use my own voice. Thoughts…? Signed, Don’t Want To Bore You     Dear Don’t Want, Would YOU…
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stack of letters

When to Re-Query an Agent

One of the most common questions I receive is, “When is is okay to send another query to an agent who previously passed?” Sometimes people are talking about re-sending a query for the same book that was already queried; the writer has either improved the query or improved the book and wants another shot. Other times,…
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How To Write A Query Letter

*The Definitive Guide* Query letters are a recurring theme here since every writer needs one, and there are hundreds of posts online full of query advice. But I wanted to give you a simple, straightforward set of instructions. Other places you can find specifics such as how to write a strong pitch for your book, or how to…
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Why Agents Don’t Give Reasons with Rejections

“Two Minute Tutorials” Ohmygosh! Another video! And guess what. I decided to name my video series “Two Minute Tutorials” and wouldn’t you know, today’s video is 3 minutes. C’est la vie, as they say. So this installment of “Two Three Minute Tutorials” answers the question, “Why Don’t Agents Give Reasons with their Rejections?” (I’m trying to get…
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Query Paranoia

Writers often get freaked out by all our blogs and twitter posts about “bad” queries and big mistakes people make that can make them look…less than professional. But here’s the thing. If you’re reading blogs and books and getting yourself educated about how to get published, then I’m sure you’re going to be fine. You…
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How to Get an Agent (NOT!)

13 Ways to Screw Up Your Query 1. Address your letter to Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Agent or To Whom It May Concern. 2. Write “I believe you are the perfect agent for me” even though it’s obvious the same email was sent to fifty agents. 3. Pitch a mainstream novel of 40,000 words… or 250,000…
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The Dreaded Author Bio

More mail! Dear Rachelle, an agent I’m interested in querying requires “a brief bio or résumé.” For published authors, this has got to be a leg-up, and I completely understand why an agent would want this, but for those of us with no prior publishing experience it’s a nightmare. How do we stay professional and…
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Hitting send

Can’t Hit Send?

A writer emailed me:The novel is finished, the query letter is drafted, the synopsis is as tight as I can get it, and I still can’t bring myself to hit that damned “send” button. I’m sure you see the work of many writers who query too eagerly and make bone-head mistakes… I’m trying to avoid…
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Why, Oh Why, Did I Get Rejected?

Yesterday’s blog post asking writers what annoys them yielded lots of helpful comments, and a smattering of familiar complaints. Julie Geistfeld wrote that she wants a “reason” with her rejection letters. But, she says – she’s not asking for much – just “one word, maybe two” of explanation at the end of a form rejection.…
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Want to Compose a Killer Pitch?

I’m teaching a webinar for Writers Digest this Thursday at 1:00 pm EDT (90 minutes). “Critique Series: Pitches and Queries” I will teach about crafting an effective pitch and query letter. Then I’ll do real-time critiques of query letters and pitches. Everyone who registers will be able to send a pitch ahead of time for…
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Queries: Really Not That Complicated

In the comments to Friday’s post, February Grace said: “I wish that there was a standard query procedure to follow. That’s all. A uniform cover letter plus a sample from the work or synopsis or both.”First, I want to apologize on behalf of all agents, because apparently we’ve made it seem way too hard. It’s…
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Writing a Series

(Today’s peek into my mailbox.) Dear Rachelle, I’ve been writing a series of novels, and have completed six books. My question is: How do I go about submitting a series? I have a query that describes the series an includes an excerpt from each book. Would this be the correct way to present the series?…
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Query Critique: Iron Makeover

(This is the first of the query critiques I’ll be doing over the next few weeks, probably one or two a week. Look for them on Wednesdays and sometimes Thursdays. Please bear in mind that these will be longer than my typical posts. ) The Query: Hi there! I’m seeking representation for my 60,000-word non-fiction…
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It’s a Relationship

Last month I wrote a post on the Top Ten Query Mistakes. The first two points were all about personalizing your query to the agents. They were: #1. Not making me special, and #2. Not caring who I am. Now if you didn’t know me, those might seem like kind of narcisistic statements, and believe…
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Your Path to Publishing