So, you’ve shown your prospective agents and/or publishers that you have a unique, interesting IDEA that’s got the potential to sell and you’ve got the KNOWLEDGE of where and how you want to sell it Next up, you need to show them your PROFESSIONALISM.
Sadly, this is where a lot of book ideas and even fully written manuscripts, a lifetime’s worth of work, can often die. Most authors think just coming up with the idea or writing the book is enough. They don’t think about how to get their work seen by the right people and considered. They don’t understand that they need specific and very important materials to first get the attention of an agent or publisher before they even read a word of any manuscript and how that material MUST be presented as professionally as possible.
In gathering information for my seminars on book writing, pitching and publishing, I had an editor from the acquisitions department of a small publishing house tell me that they will use whether or not an author presents a well-crafted query letter and pitch package as a “filtering system.” Those that didn’t meet their standards were instantly thrown away, never read by anyone.
“We just deal with too many submissions to waste time on an author who can’t put together a standard pitch to help sell their book,” he said.
And that was from a SMALL publishing house.
So what exactly do you need to show them to get your fiction or nonfiction work read? Well, first things first, you need to have the right query letter. This should be obvious but you can’t call or write them a friendly email—they don’t know you and either of these two approaches will probably get you blocked right off the bat. The query letter is your way of not only saying hello (professionally) but also peaking their interest in your project. It’s what you show them that makes them ask you for your manuscript!
There are many schools of thought on how to write these very important letters. Again, in putting together my seminar, I worked with several writers, agents and publishers and came up with a five-paragraph template that will get any project at least considered (your idea still has to be good, after all). The five parts break down as follows:
As for HOW to do all five parts…well, get in touch with me and I'll show you! Just know that these letters are extremely important and if you learn to do them well, they will open up many different doors for you. In many cases, you will also need a pitch package ready to show them. I’ll get into those a bit more in a later tip and of course, in a consultation.
Let me know. I would love to help you with your book writing goals!