A local writer began a few years ago to send out query letters to publishers. She, like everyone else who does this, started to get rejection letters.
When I asked her after some time how it was going she informed me she was quitting, I learned she sent out six. Nothing I could say or do would convince her to keep going.
To be honest if you are going to give up that readily how serious are you wanting to be traditionally published or get a literary agent? How badly do you feel your book deserve a shot?
I was just really surprised how easily she gave up on herself and her book. Rejections from publishers are a rite of passage. It will happen. No one is immune.
To date this writer has not sent any more letters.
When I was submitting “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure” I received a lot of rejections. Some didn’t even send me a reply back. But I did something apparently that was odd according to other writers. I saved all my rejection letters. People tend to give me a weird look when I tell them that. But I have and will continue for any other manuscript I submit. To me it shows I am still trying, still believing in my book and myself and knowing that there is bound to be someone who loves my book as much as I do.
My mantra is still the same as it was when started. All I need is one yes, just one. In fact I have that taped up to my cork board by my desk. For if you don’t love your book, and I mean truly love your book, why would anyone else?
How many writers know how to write a query letter? If you self publish than you are good to go. But if you are trying to be traditional published or get a literary agent this is an important piece of paper you will probably ever write for your book.
In a query letter it is imperative you don’t make it long. If you get more than 2/3 of a page you have written to much. In it you write everything about your book in a concise way that will entice a publisher or agent to want to reach back to you.
This paper should have three to four paragraphs tops.
In the first paragraph you are reaching out to them. If you have met them at a meeting, conference and so on you would bring this up here. But it is a quick introduction. The second paragraph you are mentioning the title, word count, target audience and a very brief synopsis on what the book is about. The last paragraph is normally just you wrapping it up with anything that can be pertinent such as awards, recognition and so forth.
Simple, right? By all accounts it is but getting it just right takes some time.
But do your research before you just slap this together. I had no clue how to write one before I started submitting my first book-Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure. But I took the time to check it out and I asked people in the business.
Please make sure you follow the guidelines on submission. Every agent and publisher have their own rules on how to do so. Follow them. Just follow them. Yes, follow their rules. If you don’t well you can guess where your letter will be filed.
Give your book a chance to be seen. Doing that involves writing the best query for your book.
Last week I finished the first draft of the fourth volume to my children’s chapter book series. It’s also know as the Jasper, Amazon parrot series. It caters to middle grade children.
I was able to accomplish this due to the sheet above that challenged writers to write something every day for a month. Jasper 4 had already been started so it only took me a couple of weeks to finish it up. Since I still had half the sheet left over I worked on editing the first draft.
When I reread the whole manuscript from scratch I saw so much work was going to be needed to get this work in tip top shape. The loopholes I saw were huge. The grammar well I am not good with grammar so I didn’t get discouraged from that. Though I am getting much better at it since I started this career as a writer.
Knowing how much needs to be done is daunting. To date I am about half way done doing the first round of edits on this volume. I am a stickler for getting things right when it comes to the animals, what they do, the issue I am addressing in a book and so much more. This will be read by kids or to kids by parents. I want to make sure I make it as accurate as possible. I don’t want them to just read it for fun. I want them to learn about the animals, the region, care about them and the topics that plague this area. Just because it is a children’s book doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same treatment that other target audiences receive.
But you know what? I am done the first draft. I am done. That feels so good to say out loud. Jasper is flying one more time with new characters, new issue and more camaraderie with family and friends.