Check your spelling in all your query Letters! The best way
to do this is to print out the query letter and read it. Do not read it on the
computer screen, as your eyes will "miss" many errors! Proof reading
must always be performed on a hard copy!
Many writers are desperate to be published and have faced
hundreds of rejections over the years. Don't lose your cool or your reason.
Keep your query letters and other communications absolutely to business standards and
professional. Do not allow desperation to show in your letters! Do not plead for
help, request favors, make promises, or offer cut-rate royalty deals. These letters
always result in rejections. Agents and publishers will not deal with writers
revealing unprofessionalism. In fact, errors in submissions are used as filtering
devices to sort the unprofessional writers from the professional. Professional
submissions are welcomed and these writers are invited to submit manuscripts.
Unprofessional writers are instantly rejected. This is why your query letter must be
The query letter is the most
important letter you can write, even more important than the book!
Why? Because the query initiates the publishing of your book! If you are not
obtaining the results you desire, pay to have a firm write a professional query letter for
you! It makes no sense to have a great book and fail miserably in the marketing
process, which most writer's do, unnecessarily!
MORE TIPS FOR AUTHORS - SUBMISSION
You send the agent or publisher your query and they request the
manuscript. What do you include?
1. A manuscript cover letter. Do not send
fancy stationary! Keep it simple. Too much color reveals amateur
status. The cover letter can be a short synopsis. It is here you inform the
agent or publisher if you wish the manuscript to be returned or not. Simply state,
"S.A.S.E. enclosed for return of manuscript." or
"S.A.S.E. not enclosed. No need to return."
2. Enclose another S.A.S.E. for a written
response. This is a #10 business envelope.
3. Attach #1 and #2 above to the manuscript with a
paper clip. Do not staple it!
4. The less you say in your cover letter the
better off you will be! Don't ramble on with anything is our best advice.
Don't try to cut deals, etc. Some writers create great queries, then they ruin it
big time in the manuscript cover letter. A good process to use is
process. A cover letter is drafted stating the return procedure, as in step #1 above
and just listing you and your agent's contact information; name, address, phone,
fax, e-mail. Then include a single-page synopsis. Let your manuscript do
the selling for you! Make certain your e-mail address is correct and easy to read
or you will receive no response! If your e-mail address contains "I" or
"1" make certain the reader can easily make the distinction (e-mail word
processors create look-alike and confusing font identities).
5. The synopsis simply breaks the story of your
book down to three major story elements. Beginning, middle and end. Best
bet? One short paragraph for each. Some book publishers want multi-page
synopses, but you can find great success with one-page. You can use one paragraph
for your biography. If so, do not ramble on your qualifications, just list
them. Now you have a 4-paragraph synopsis on 1-page. It will be read!
6. Some agent/publishers require sample
chapters. The publisher should have sent you their guidelines on submission
procedures. If no guidelines were sent? Don't include sample chapters.
You may want to mention it in your query cover letter, "Sample chapters available
on request," but this inclusion can be considered silly by many editors, as it
is obvious sample chapters would be available on request. Use this statement only
when you are submitting an "unfinished manuscript."
7. Wrap all in a sheet of 1/16" thick
bubble-wrap for protection during shipping. Place in a bubble-padded shipping
envelope or manuscript mailing box. Don't forget the two S.A.S.E.'s. On the
outside of the package write these words, "Requested Manuscript Enclosed."
If you do not do this, you risk having your manuscript returned to you unopened! The
mailroom personnel will think it is an unsolicited submission!
8. Sit back and wait. Be professional.
Do not call the agent or publisher. You may write them in 60-days asking for
the status. It's a slow and painful process for writers, but that's the business.
9. If you receive a rejection? Do not write
angry retributions to the agent or publisher. Just forget it and mail your
manuscript to the next one on your list. Never let your desperation reveal itself,
as it is a certain method for ultimate failure. Everybody knows everybody
in this business and a bad apple gets passed around. Best bet? Send a
thank you letter! As much as you may be angry, do it. It's how you learn
to become professional and your letter will be filed. Some editors have
actually changed their mind and published the work after reading the "thank you"
letter! Strange things happen. Leave a good impression, that's what really
10. Do not quit your day job to write
full-time! Do this only when you have many selling projects in the works.
Consider freelance writing; columns for newspaper, magazines, corporate newsletters.
Write your book and write the next one. Selling only one book is often not enough
royalty income to live on (unless national best-seller status arises, but sales do fall
after 8 to 12 weeks). This is why many great authors have multiple books!
11. If you hit it big and roll in the money?
Hire a financial planner to invest and preserve your income to last you many years.
There are horror stories of writers making tons of money, then they are stone broke in a
few years. Advice? Do not buy the expensive home and car until your financial
planner structures these purchases so your investments will pay for them! Your first
or second book may sell big, but your third and fourth may flop and you'll be back where
you started. Hopefully, not filing bankruptcy! Invest your money wisely so it
will work for you.
12. There are protocols in the publishing business,
just as there are in the screenwriting business, and you must follow the
rules. If you believe you can break the rules you are gravely mistaken.
Publishers and literary agents are on the lookout for you. They examine your
submission package and if it "looks professional" it will be moved on up for an
evaluation reading. If not, it will be shoved aside for months or rejected.
Same with your query letter. If you are not sending "professionally
presented" queries you are wasting your time. Learn to do things right the
first time. Learn to be professional by presenting professional queries and
manuscript mailing packages. If you forget the S.A.S.E.'s? You are inviting
rejection! You can not break the rules and expect to see your book published.
13. There are "firewalls" installed to
filter out amateur submissions! Here's one you never knew about -- Did you know your
query letter will be "set aside" for weeks if you fail to use a
"business-type" postage stamp? If you use postage stamps with flowers,
Elvis, or other comical characters the publisher and agent knows right away, "This
is an amateur submission, put it into the someday file!" Use postage stamps
businesses use; the simple American flag stamp! When your query arrives, the mail
sorter sees the "business stamp" and places the mail into the
"in-box." Letters with fancy colorful stationary envelopes with postage
stamps of flowers, etc., are tossed into another file -- the file you don't want to be in!
14. Don't spend a lot of money on flashy stationary
as it is certainly a sign of an amateur submission! Professionals use very simple
stationary, and some don't use any at all! Just plain white or creme-colored linen
paper. Why? They don't want anything to distract the reader from the words
printed on the paper! You can use colorful stationary, but is must be very
"low-key" with few colors schemes. Beautiful rainbows, blue sky and
clouds, waterfalls, fireworks, large boxed borders, etc., are not to be used.
15. There are books at the bookstores on how to
write and submit query letters. Read them! The query letter is the most
important letter in the entire marketing phase. It is the letter that gets your
foot (manuscript) in the door. If you insist on sending unprofessional query
letters, and prefer to do it "your way" you will fail, and keep
failing. Rejections will never cease. That is the nature of the beast.
There are writers with excellent manuscripts publishers would love to publish, but the
writer remains stubborn and refuses to follow industry protocol rules and standards.
Publishers and agents will not deal with unprofessionals. Remember; amateur
submissions = rejection!
16. Most all writers fail repeatedly by not
learning how to market their manuscripts. There are books at bookstores on how to
present and sell your manuscript. Read them! A large publisher may receive 100,000
submission-request-queries in just 12-months. Do you really believe you can break
the rules and compete with 60,000 other writers who are following the rules? It is
very difficult to get a book published. Out of the 100,000 only 34 books will be
accepted and published! Those firewalls exist for a good reason, to keep the
amateurs from flooding the "in-box" so the publisher can get to work evaluating
the professional submissions.
17. The key to success in getting your book into
the hands of the editor who has the power to say "yes" is to be
professional. There is only one way for an unprofessional to become a professional
and that is to submit your query and mailing package professionally, with all elements
included in each submission. Publishers and agents do not deem a professional simply
because they are a pro writer, it is the query letter and the submission package
presentation that counts. Once they request your manuscript, that's when your
writing skills will be evaluated and decisions made to publish. You can't get your
manuscript high into the chain of command for a decision if you fail to comply with
professional protocol standards.
18. Go to your bookstore and purchase a copy of the
Writer's Digest book Writer's Market. We have the book on our Books for Writers page The book lists all publishers
and agents. Advice is given on how to submit your manuscript or query. Find
the publishers that specialize in the genre (subject matter) your book matches. If
you have cookbooks, don't send a query to a publisher/agent that specializes in business
books! So many writers are doing this, it boggles the imagination as to why they
think the publisher/agent will take on their book. It won't happen and the writer is
simply wasting time and money. Buy a copy of the Writer's Digest magazine.
Subscribe to it! It is full of powerful advice for writers. They have a
book club and you should join the club and read the books written to assist authors.
19. Use each paragraph on this page as a
"checklist" prior to mailing your query or manuscript. Make sure all
elements and items are included. You will see a vast difference in how publishers
and agents will treat your submissions. You may be surprised to discover your book
will be published!
20. If you simply slow down, stop, take a deep
breath and examine your query letter, you will find greater success. Re-write it so
all the elements are contained. Keep it brief and to the point. In query
letter standards, less is more! The less you say, the less errors you will make that
may create a rejection!
21. Visit our Links
Page for writers. You will find more guidance and advice with the Web sites
22. Never send a manuscript in a padded envelope!
These brown kraft paper envelopes are filled with millions of shredded fibers.
When publishers and agents see them they hit the roof! They know the
manuscript will be filled with these fluffy dust particles and will mess up their clothes,
desktops, floors, hands and the manuscript itself. Use bubble envelopes! Some
editors become so upset when they see a padded envelope they simply reject the
manuscript without even reading it!
FOR YOUR BOOKS!
SCREEN WRITING BOOK WILL HELP YOU...
You may find our screen writing book of
value. How? The book is dedicated to marketing movie scripts to Hollywood, but
also reveals many tips and tricks of the trade in writing effective query letters... and
how to market and submit your project, professionally!
If you write books, you should consider
writing a stage play or screenplay, too! Contrary to what you may have read, books
do not always make it to press first, then a movie is made. Today, it works
the other way around! A script will sell to the studios, then the book will be put
into print for simultaneous release! This happens all of the time. You will
read about it in the Hollywood Reporter and other trade magazines.
This means, as a book author, you now have
another career to pursue -- screenwriting! You now effectively double your
chances of getting your book or script sold. Plus, you can earn much more money
with your screenplay than with any book! How much? $5,000 to $50,000 for the
option (like an advance payment) and over $100,000 for the sale, even in the millions!
The writer who has a book, and the screenplay already written,
high-advantage of getting sold. Movie studios will make the movie, make the
deal with a book publisher and make a fortune for everyone involved.
Even a technical or cookbook can be turned
into a VHS instructional tape to be aired on television and sold in stores. Your
book can be your launching pad to an entirely new means of success, if you write the
script! You now have another market for your book! You have a book and
now the film script! This will increase your chances of selling one or the other, or
both! Usually when one sells, the other sells.
And, there is a third market.
Your book may even be written in stage play format and obtain recognition in
theatrical arenas and that can result in a book, play and a screenwriting deal! When
success comes, it often comes big, arriving all at once! Click
here for the
Stage Marketing Secrets book.
Screen & Stage Marketing Secrets