Thursday, January 1, 2009

Handy, Helpful Hints for a Successful One-page Query

1. Address your query to the appropriate editorial department—Adult Fiction, Adult Nonfiction, Young Adult/Children.

2. Review a publisher's guidelines carefully. Does your book idea match its areas of interest? Are you familiar with the kinds of books it publishes? If not, take some time to peruse the books listed on the Web site.

3. Read one of the publisher's books in the same genre as your own to familiarize yourself with its line.

4. Explain why you chose that publisher. Show that you know its needs and are aware of what it publishes. For example, you might lead with something like the following: "Because of the success of your highly acclaimed author Janette Oke, I know that historical novels are a core part of your publishing program. I feel my novel, (title), would fit nicely into your historical fiction line."

5. Present your "sound bite" statement about your novel or nonfiction book idea in 40 words or less. "My book is about _______," will identify its most unique, compelling feature.

The fiction sound bite should focus on the story, and might include the heroic character, the central issue of the story, the heroic goal, the worthy adversary, action, the ending, a grabber, or a twist.

The nonfiction sound bite should include the main focus or topic. One suggestion is to describe the Problem, Solution, and Application.

6. Tell why your book is distinctive. What’s fresh, new, or different? Who will read the book (women, men–adult, teen, child)? For Young Adult/Children, specify the age group of your intended audience (7 – 10, 8 – 12, etc.).

7. Include pertinent manuscript details: a) Is the manuscript complete? b) How long is the finished book (approximate word count)? c) Give brief pertinent biographical information, including published works. d) Is this proposal a simultaneous submission?

8. Tell how to contact you to pursue further information/sample chapters.

Source: Bethany House Publishers