Monday, May 2, 2011

May I Interest You In A Nice Query?



Let's say you've written out your first million words of dreck, and can actually write salable ficton. Let's say you applied your craft and wrote an 800 page epic fantasy with a specific market in mind. Let's say it took you four years to construct this tome. Let's say the day came and you fired this masterpiece off to the publisher you had in mind. And for the purpose of this discussion, let's say they got back to you the following day with a very kind, but very firm message, something alone the lines that they'd just published a mammoth epic fantasy and didn't have the need for one at the moment, would you possibly have something in a nice Mystery Romance, like the old tv show Moonlighting?

If you really loved that publisher and had your heart set on being published with them, it's not entirely unlikely that among the many thoughts going through your head at the moment, one of them might be "I wish I'd known that before I invested four years going in the wrong direction."This is one of many reasons why now is a great time to start investigating the art of the query. (One imagines that as the speed of publishing escalates in a digital age, having such conversations with publishers up front will become even more valuable.) If you've spent your time up to this point honing your writing chops, now's the perfect time to start sharpening your marketing chops, and the query is one of the primary tools that should be in your bag of tricks.

Author and speaker Mary DeMuth knows about queries. She's written a free guide called Queries Now to help you navigate the next step of your journey to publication. You can grab it from her store on her page of free resources.

In the dictionary, a query is a question, an inquiry. In marketing, a query is a business message sent to a publisher that pitches your idea to an agent or editor. I think of a query as a ping, an expression of interest in a mutually-beneficial project.

Of course, it's not as a simple as all that. You have to know what you're doing. That's where Queries Now helps you with the heavy lifting.

Mary explains what a query is, why one should consider crafting a query, when not to query, and gives examples of what the format of successful queries is and step-by-step directions on how to craft one. Mary also provides detailed examples of targeted fiction, magazines, and non-fiction queries.

She even provides an example of an author who writes the piece first and then queried afterward, which may give you hope for that 800 page epic fantasy after all.
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8 comments:

  1. Terrific post, Johne. I'm convinced query-letter writing is an art!

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  2. Sounds like a good resource, Johne. Thank you for the heads up.

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  3. Sounds like a great resource. Mary always puts out good stuff. Thanks for sharing, Johne!

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  4. Great resource! Looking forward to checking it out. :) And, it's so timely! Getting ready to embark on the Great Get-An-Agent Quest in the next few months... :)

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  5. Mary has a lot of helpful stuff on her website for new authors.

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  6. Thanks for the resource. I'm checking it out

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  7. Greetings!
    www.treasuredspotbookreviews.com

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  8. Sounds like a very useful resource.

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