Query Letters and Book Proposals

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//Query Letters and Book Proposals
Query Letters and Book Proposals 2018-09-15T21:11:28+00:00

Query Letter & Book Proposal Services

Have you written a potentially publish-worthy manuscript?


Is your book idea so compelling or unique that publishers will want to contract with you before the book is even written?

You’ve come to the right place!

Our team of widely published ghostwriters, editors, and publishing consultants can develop or refine your pitch materials to maximize your chances of securing a lucrative publishing contract.

“When I finally find that one willing agent, I’ll have found my prize in the Cracker Jack box.”

~Richelle E. Goodrich

When it comes to grabbing the attention of a literary agent or publisher, the strength of your query letter or book proposal is nearly as important as the quality of your manuscript itself. How you sell yourself, your platform, and your manuscript is integral to getting your book published. This is your one chance to generate excitement and stand out from the droves of writers looking to be published.

A concise one-page query letter, along with a writing sample, can sometimes be enough to attract the attention of an agent or publisher, whereas a book proposal can be pitched while the manuscript is still in the conceptual phase. Generally speaking, literary agents specializing in fiction and memoir typically require a query letter, synopsis, and writing sample, whereas agents and publishers specializing in nonfiction require a full book proposal. There are many rules, both written and unwritten, for what makes a query letter or book proposal successful. Our service will guide you through every step of the submission process, from assessing the viability of your project to writing or rewriting your pitch materials to helping you select the best possible agent or publisher for your book.

Hire a Team of Industry Experts

Part of what makes our book services unique is that we utilize a dynamic team approach. Our typical process includes collaborative planning and brainstorming sessions with a team of two or three book experts, including former acquisitions editors from major publishing houses and New York Times bestselling authors. Throughout the writing process, team members will review the work in progress, providing editing and consultation, to ensure the best possible result.

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Why Do I Need A Query Letter?

Your query letter is an invaluable marketing tool that you will use to promote your book to literary agents and publishers. Since publishers are constantly receiving countless manuscripts, literary agents act as a filtering system for the publishing industry. The endorsement of a literary agent gives publishers a level of assurance that your material is worth their time to review it.

Some writers’ circles say that you will need to query 80+ agents before you can justify calling it quits. Each query letter should be personalized to the recipient and address how you see your work complimenting the roster of authors that the literary agent currently represents. The process is often long and taxing, and there is no guarantee that you’ll find representation. But, if you do, a literary agent will very likely be able to find a publisher for you and act as a champion for you and your book. Writing your query letter is the essential first step to obtaining a literary agent of your own.

What Are the Components of a Query Letter? How Is It Different Than a Book Proposal?

While there is no magic formula for the perfect query letter (in fact, the more personalized each letter is, the better), there are certain components that should generally be included.

First and foremost, a query letter is never longer than one page. Within that page, you must be sure to include a hook (a one- or two-line attention-grabbing statement that conveys the essence of your book), a brief bio that describes your credentials as an author, an explanation of why you think your book is a good fit for the agent or publisher, and last but not least, basic info about your book (such as the title, genre, and word count).

In addition to these specific elements, be sure to personalize, personalize, personalize! Have you attended a workshop with the literary agent or one of their associates? Have you studied one of their published authors? Did you hear the president of their company speak at a conference? Include anything you can that shows you’ve researched the agent or publisher, that you know their work, and that your book would be a good fit within their existing markets and business model.

A book proposal is quite similar to a query letter, except that it is longer and generally includes a synopsis or outline of the book, chapter summaries, detailed author bio, marketing platform/strategy, and a market analysis. Book proposals are generally used for nonfiction books and can be submitted for a manuscript that is not yet complete.

In general, authors of fiction and memoir/autobiography will submit a query letter and authors of nonfiction will submit book proposals.

Wondering what you should do for your book? Give us a call to get your free consultation.

Can I Send the Same Query Letter to More Than One Agent or Publisher?

Significant sections of your query letter can be sent to more than one agent or publisher; however, query letters are most effective when they are customized to your recipient. Most successful query letters include a section about how your manuscript relates to the distinct character or priorities of the agent or publisher you’re contacting.

Should I Send My Manuscript Along with My Query Letter?

Unless you’ve been specifically requested or directed to do so, don’t send your entire manuscript with your query letter! This is a classic pet peeve for agents and publishers and, more often than not, your unsolicited manuscript will end up in the recycling bin. Instead, be sure that your query letter or book proposal is attention grabbing and contains all of the necessary information about you and your book. Each agent will have specific submission requirements, which typically include a small writing sample from your book. If they like what they see, they’ll ask you to submit the entire manuscript for review.