Query How To’s

Had a great time at the SCBWI NorCa conference yesterday in Davis, CA, featuring a wonderful talk by Harper Collins editor Kristin Daly. (That’s Daly–not Davis, although she’s got the same sparkle. Think BOOKS and the City…) More about Kristin’s talk in the next blog. I’m racing off this morning to Day #2 of my daughter’s soccer tourney. But first a round of applause to RA Tekla White, Assistant RA Genny Heikka. and their volunteers for organizing such a great day.

And second, here are the Query How To’s I talked about yesterday in my workshop on Picture Books. This is how my first book, GOLDIE LOCKS HAS CHICKEN POX caught the attention of an editor without an agent…

The Query Letter:

This is your 30 second “pitch”/ audition /job interview. Make it professional—not casual. This is a business letter. Avoid typos, incorrect grammar or spelling. Use Times New Roman or Courier, 12 pt. — no fancy fonts

One page only! Include:

  1. Brief, specific, catchy, synopsis (1 paragraph), like book flap copy.
  2. If your book begins with a hook, use it!
  3. Will your voice set this query apart? Use it!
  4. Be sure to mention the “Ah Ha!” ending.
  5. Writer’s background : SCBWI
  6. If you haven’t published anything before, don’t say so!
  7. Audience: (Who is going to buy this book?)
  8. Why is it worth publishing?
  9. Why will young readers want to read this book?

Remember!

  • DON’T send generic: “Dear Sir”—find a name. Then use Ms. or Mr. Last Name.
  • DO inform if this is a simultaneous (multiple) or exclusive submission w/deadline.
  • DO not e-mail unless specified. Snail mail is still preferred.
  • DON’T send certified, etc. Use 1st class reg. mail unless postage is more than Priority
  • DO Avoid: “This is bound to be a best seller.” “All my friends (students, relatives, etc.) read it and they love it!” “I see this as a T.V. movie of the week…”

If you’re still confused, Editor Cheryl Klein from Arthur A. Levine has the best blog ever on Query Letters. Check it out. Informative and entertaining! Who can beat that?

Meanwhile, you know the motto: PBIC and WRITE !

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