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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. Queries should include the following three elements: Something about the book – enough to make the agent want more  Something…
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How To Write a Book Proposal

There are several books available on writing book proposals. My favorites are: Write the Perfect Book Proposal by Jeff Herman. I like this one because it contains ten real-life proposals that sold. The Literary Agent’s Guide to Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal by Andy Ross. This one’s short and to-the-point, and the last time I…
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Elevator Pitch Critiques

How about some critiques of those elevator pitches? I’m impressed and amazed at how many of you contributed them in the comments to my post last Wednesday. Obviously I won’t be able to critique most of them, but hopefully you’ll get something out of these few that I’m going to address. A couple things before…
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Nervous Wreck

Crafting Your Elevator Pitch

I hope you’re learning something from this tutorial on verbal pitches! Today’s the day I’m going to ask for your pitches in the comments so pay attention. One of the keys to pitching that I haven’t mentioned yet is the correct timing of a verbal (or elevator) pitch. When do you give one? The answer…
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Your Verbal Pitch

10 Tips for a Winning Elevator Pitch Continuing on our theme of pitching your book… today I’m going to give a few tips on creating a brief verbal pitch for your book. 1. Remember that you are going to be talking to someone. While many of these tips can apply to written pitches, pay attention to the fact…
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Pitching Your Novel

Last week we discussed pitching your project to agents and editors at a writers’ conference. Today I wanted to address that a little more. One thing I’ve noticed lately in fiction pitches – verbal pitches or queries – is that some writers want to tell all about the theme or the emotional journey of the…
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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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Paranoia

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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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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11 Questions for Crafting a Pitch

This weekend I taught at a writers’ conference and my topic was “Selling Your Stuff,” creating those all important sales materials for your book: The one-sentence summary.The query.The pitch paragraph.The elevator pitch.The proposal. I was talking to a room full of novelists, so I focused on fiction. I told them that the main elements of…
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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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