A query letter is little more than a business letter. Remember 8th grade English? If you don’t Word can provide you with a template.
This, however, is more than a straight forward letter you can dash off in a few minutes.
You need to make it stand out from the crowd. Editors receive hundreds of these every day. Day in and Day out. Seven days a week.
You can start your letter with a hook. This is a statement that entices the reader. “Real men don’t watch birds for a living. Real women don’t ride Harley Hogs wearing full leathers.” Or “Big Mike Firefighter’s mother thinks he’s secretly married to Mousey Marion Librarian next door. Trouble is he’s never met her.” The romance genre is ripe with possibilities.
In the body of the letter you can throw in your 3 minute elevator pitch, character with a goal, conflict to that goal, and the emotional growth the character needs to go through to overcome the conflict and reach the goal.
Business letters are also marketing tools. It is a manuscript you must sell to the recipient. This is done partly with key words. If you were to upload your book to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks today, you would need to select key words and categories. “A post apocalypse, coming of age, spiritual journey, murder mystery, that shows how Utopias crumble.” If you choose the right words, the editor can take this to the marketing committee and get their approval to buy your book.
Key words and interesting phrases are important but should not over shadow the simple purpose of your letter. Save your lush purple prose for the manuscript.
This blog is part of chained series sponsored by Joshua Palmatier. You can find more essays on this subject here: http://jpskewedthrone.dreamwidth.org/492684.html
As always you can find more of my opinions on writing and marketing in my book “Committing Novel.” http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/book/committing-novel/