BRIDGET WHELAN writer

August is archive month. Posts from the past

How to Write a Covering Letter to an Agent or Publisher

abstract houses-1289658_640Writing a decent covering letter – or query letter as they are known in America – is one of the hardest things a new writer has to tackle.

Here’s good advice from the blog Writer Unboxed on how to do so it will actually get read:

The decision of whether or not to read a letter all the way through happens within seconds. The opening should sing, better than the fat lady ever did, and in your voice. The first sentences determine whether any more of the letter gets read. The first paragraph establishes whether you have done your research, are professional, would be someone interesting (and sane), someone who might be a good collaborator, and whether you can pitch your work, not your dreams.

The author gives concrete examples of what you should and shouldn’t do.

  • Unhelpful Introductions: “I’m an x-year-old otherwise-employed person who has always dreamed of being a writer.”

  • Helpful Introductions: “I’ve written a work on topic x, which I’ve been obsessed with for decades because it affects millions of people, and no one else has ever written the truth . . .”

She also insists that you shouldn’t waste that precious first sentence on the blindingly obvious such as you hope they will represent/publish you. Nor should you think of the letter as an introduction to you (unless your name will sell books). What you need to push to the forefront is your writing. And you also need to express yourself in such a way that the agent or publisher senses that you are someone who can use words with style and clarity.
All on one page….

Read the rest of the post HERE.

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3 comments on “How to Write a Covering Letter to an Agent or Publisher

  1. The Story Reading Ape
    July 13, 2016

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Great advice and links found by Author Bridget Whelan 😀

  2. Michèle Wood
    July 13, 2016

    Great advise!

  3. Carl D'Agostino
    July 13, 2016

    Valuable info for for me. I have been approached to ghost write a story of a person that was in prison for a few years as a “don’t talk” warning having supplied cocaine to officials in the highest layers of government in the early 1970’s. Should be quite explosive.

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This entry was posted on July 13, 2016 by in Muse and tagged , , , .
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