Happy New Year Writers!!! Boom! We made it another year around the sun.
I hope you are doing amazingly well and are excited for 2022.
This month I'm doing a three-part series on writing query letters. I've been coaching them for more than a decade and still, people get stuck on them.
This first part has been posted before but it needs repeating as so many writers still struggle and I want to make sure that you have the tools you need.
If you have finished your novel, screenplay, or teleplay you need to get an agent and for that, you need what is called a query letter. These scare many writers because it's hard to sell yourself and that is what you are doing. The query letter is your sales letter for you and your story.
Continue reading this blog for more insight on nailing this!
So many people come to me for query help that I put together this blog to help you crush it because I know that you can!
Writing your query shouldn't be so scary!
Writing queries is something that most writers find terrifying but I find it fun. A chance to get to talk about my novel??? AWESOME!
I know that they seem hard, but really you can craft a perfect query with some very easy steps.
Remember always be personal to the agent you are querying and always FOLLOW the submissions listed on the agent's website. This is super important.
Then your pitch needs to be quick and concise and contain a GREAT HOOK. This is what will sell your story.
It needs to have the
WHO (your story is about)
WHAT (the status quo is at the day the story starts)
WHAT HAPPENS to launch the story
You can think about it like this
X (who) is Y (status quo) until Z (what happens)
An example that I always use is Harry Potter.
Harry is who and he lived under the stairs until he found out he was a wizard.
You can add more details to give it an emotional punch but be short and to the point.
Let's go back to Harry.
WHO is Harry?
A boy, 10 (I think it was 10 but it might have been 11) years-old, and WHAT is his current situation? He lives under the stairs---now we can add that he lives under the stairs at his abusive aunt and uncle--makes it more emotional and then WHAT HAPPENS that launches the story forward? He finds out that he is a wizard.
I hope that makes sense!
ANOTHER tip to help with that query!
You have no problem talking with friends about your project right? Your screenplay is going to be awesome and you are excited to tell everyone about it? Your new YA novel is so cool and you know that it will take the teen readers by storm as soon as it comes out? Right?
But then you go to query it and all of a sudden stage fright sets in big time and you can't think of what to say or how to say it, you are reduced to being a small child and it ends up something like this.
And there was this guy and then this happens, and then he meets this person and they want this and then this happens and he's really smart and then they go here... and blah blah blah, I'm already bored and an agent or a reader will use it to line the wastepaper basket.
(metaphorically as everything is on email these days-but you get the point).
That happens because you lose your confidence!
So, here is a secret that will help you.
When you start writing your query-use the formula above but write it like you are talking to a friend. This is a chance to talk about your story--keep that excitement and don't be boring.
Think about that query as just another chance to tell someone about how great your book is.
I know you can do it!!
Thank you for reading and if you have any specific query questions please get in touch!
Please join my FREE Women Writers FB group THE FEMALE WRITERS SOCIETY if you haven't already. Social media tip--always use YOUR REAL NAME--if you have some clever name and I don't recognize it I probably won't add you :)
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Happy Writing xo