When We Write Letters, Part VII

Cell phone alarm rings again.

You wake up slowly and grab your clothes in the dark.

Maybe you forget to check whether clothes match.

Going outside, you realize it’s raining. You’re already behind the time it takes to get to work or to school. You race to the car.

Just before you turn into the parking lot at work, a drink falls and rolls beneath your break.

A writer’s feelings about the query letter are like that.

Instead of, “Do I really have to write this,” we must come up with a new approach or attitude.

It is simple.

Know your book and know your agents.

Other great blog posts tell you how to format and write the letter. They know more than me.

In my four years of research about agents and how to write query letters, I’ve learned a lot.

For me, sending letters to literary journals and anthologies was good training ground for the query. I learned how to handle rejection and how to improve my cover letters.

A query letter is all about education:

  • Know your agent:

    What is he or she interested in? What books have they represented? What do they detest?

    Good hint: on Twitter, use hashtags like #querytips and #agenttips or check out Ayesha Schroeder’s blog

  • Know your story:

    If you do not know your story, you will not know how to select prospective agents.

    That’s right. I said you select. You have the power to pick agents and decide whether they might be a fit for your book.

    For example, my book, Sons of the Edisto, is an older YA historical fiction book written from the perspective of two boys. It is set in a realistic 1920s time period during which a hateful organization influenced state and national government.

    A lot of agents will not touch it. Why? It deals with two boys coming face-to-face with the evil Ku Klux Klan. I know I need to write a query to agents interested in history, politics or fiction for boys.

    You decide what potential agent might suit your work.

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

This concludes the When We Write Letters Series.

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6 thoughts on “When We Write Letters, Part VII

    1. You’re very welcome! I see you have moved your blog. I always enjoy it and appreciate the wonderful stories and advice! Thank you for your comment! :) ~ Rebecca

  1. I think good research helps with a lot of things so it is amazing how many do not research something like looking for an agent, when by its nature it is obviously an important thing for them.

    Interesting post with some good links :)

    1. I’ve learned just how important research is in both writing and finding a good agent. There is information every writer needs to understand about the publishing business. No one is above it, and sometimes it is hard. Thank you, Elliot! ~ Becca

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