For many creators, the most frustrating aspect of the publishing world is drafting a query letter. A query letter, for those not in the know, is a similar to a cover letter aimed at publishers and editors to entice them to consider your work.
For anyone struggling with writing a query letter, this post is not for you. (Read here and here for some basic tips) No, this post is on the importance of a query letter and why you, the aspiring writer/artist, should put the effort into writing one.
- Makes You Credible
Query letters are not new and are expected from new writers. Almost every editor, publisher and agent is looking for you’re query letter. It’s a necessary start for you’re publishing journey.
Think of it like this: you’re casting a musical. During the auditions, two dancers show up. One of them knows the routine, smiles wide and easily, and takes pointers well. The other is blank-faced, won’t twirl and tells you the dance is stupid. Who do you pick?
Don’t be the second dancer! Have a query letter!
2. Shows You Care
It took you two years to write your novel. You can’t spend an hour writing a query letter?
Agents want creators that are going to be able to promote the book openly and easily. You’re query letter is a chance to show that this book is your baby and you will fight for it. You’ll go the extra mile to prove it’s worth reading. You’ll attract fans with you’re passion.
3. It Highlights You
Even a crappy query letter demonstrates your personality. Publishing happens in a vacuum. What you, the writer, says and does effects what the agent says and does. And what the agent says and does effect what the publishers says and does.
It’s a give and take. A query letter is your chance to show agents that you’re funny and able to connect with fans. Or it shows that you’re serious and want this publishing deal more than anything. Or that your shy and a double may be needed.
Whoever you are, a query letter makes you real to agents. You’re no longer a name on a piece of paper but a person trying to live a dream.
Don’t be your own roadblock.
To be transparent, Buck Off has had writers with work we weren’t sure on but after reading their query letters, we decided to work with them.
We’ve also had submissions without query letters that were rejected because we didn’t know if the creator would respond to constructive criticism.
Don’t think of query letters as a necessary evil – think of them as another chance to promote you’re work.