Query letters

» Posted on Dec 10, 2006 in Blog | Comments Off on Query letters

I will briefly go through writing a query letter. What should you put in it and what should you not put in it. First, if you can address a query letter to a specific editor at a publishing house, that is much better. With all the online resources (through ACFW and FHL organizations) you should be able to find out an editor’s name at a house you are targeting. Make sure you spell her name right. Believe it or not, editors receive letters with their names wrong. Not the impression you want to give to an editor you want to impress.

In a query letter there are several things you should include. You should tell the editor what book you are querying about–the genre it is in and its word count. For example: The Power of Love is a 60,000 word inspirational (or Christian) romance or Taken is an inspirational romantic suspense approximately 75,000 words long. If you book fits a certain type of book (example, Karen Kingsbury), mention that. Make sure that publisher is looking for that type of book. Do your homework. Again editors are sent types of stories that their house doesn’t publish. It’s a waste of everyone’s time, including yours.

You need to give a paragraph or two blurb (short synopsis) about your book. This needs to entice them to want to request the manuscript. It isn’t easy. Some editors will request a short one or two page synopsis with the query letter.

And lastly tell the editor about your writing credentials. Do you belong to any professional writing organizations? Have you won any contests or were you a finalist in one? Have you published a book before? Have you written articles? This should only be a paragraph and should only be about your writing–not your life history.

Also don’t tell the editor how much they are going to love your book (because everyone from your cleaning lady to your best friend does) or that she should buy your story, that it is far better than anything else she has published.

Do at the end, though, graciously close with something like: Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Here is a blurb that I wrote for So Dark the Night, a Love Inspired Suspense (March 2007):

Death has come to the innocent town of Crystal Springs. Death of a body. Death of relationships. Death of souls. Former Special Forces lieutenant, Reverend Colin Fitzpatrick, has seen death before, and in the haunting vacancy of Emma St. James’ eyes, he’s terrified of seeing it again. Is he strong enough to see her through the crisis of not just faith, but fighting for her very life? And if he is, will she ever forgive him for being the one who blinded her and allow herself to seek the shelter and love only to be found in his arms?