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Friday, September 23, 2011

Query Letters

I discussed the importance of research in last week's post on query letters. The next one on the list is the introduction. What is the first impression you want to make?

When you walk into a room, do walk in with your head down to the floor or do you walk in with confidence, head held high and own the room? A query letter is your introduction to the room. It says: "Hi I'm here and you need to pay attention to what I have to say."

Your query letter should always be professional looking. Make sure the grammar is correct and all the words are spelled right. Make sure the letter is clear and you have the names spelled correct. What ever you do, DO NOT place "To whom it may concern," at the top of your letter. The first thing that says is you didn't do your research. Let me say that again, DO NOT place "To whom it may concern," at the top of your letter.

Remember, research is key in this business and when you give the impression you haven't done it, you might as well walk in to the room with a piece of toilet paper hanging off your shoe. Not a very good first impression.

The second thing you want to show in your letter is who you are as a writer. Take your style and transfer it to the letter. A good way to do that is pretend it is a letter one of your main characters is writing. No you don't want to sign it as the character's name. You just want to make sure your style is apparent. The whole of the letter needs to reflect you as a writer. You wouldn't go to a black tie party in a pair of jeans and a torn t-shirt would you....well some people would...but they might be asked to leave. In the case of a bad query letter, that is what will happen.

The next thing I will tackle on the query letter, the individual paragraphs. Remember all of this has to do with research and all of the tips I'm giving are from all the research I have done. If you find something that would be helpful, drop me a line in the comment.


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