Last week’s activities were all about finding the best agent or publisher that suits your manuscript, reading about what publishers want and writing a query letter.
One publisher said that if they liked the sound of the story or the author’s tone, they were prepared to overlook any missing information in the query letter. So make sure you describe your story well!!
I thought query letters were supposed to be formal and serious but a publisher commented that many or the letters they receive sound the same and have a flat tone, so they prefer an author to show a bit of personality and say, “I love…” or “I’m passionate about…”. Or something else that is a little bit out there or inspiring that will encourage them to want to read what you’ve written.
Therefore… don’t be too rigid in writing your letters. Interesting…
What they are looking for:
* Describe the story
* Tell them why they should read it
* Tell them a bit about yourself
* Write the letter as if you’re writing to someone you want to start a relationship with (if the publisher/agent reads a query letter that stirs some sort of emotion in them, then they are more likely to want to work with you and it doesn’t matter so much if your novel isn’t “perfect”.)
After reading all the information it was time to write my query letter and send it in to my tutor to receive feedback.
Here is my query letter:
New Frontier Publishing (I haven’t got an address as they only accept email submissions)
To Whom It May Concern,
Please find enclosed a synopsis and three chapters of my fantasy chapter book for children titled, “The Curse of the Shattered Sceptre”, which is approximately 10 000 words in length.
“The Curse of the Shattered Sceptre” is an action-packed story of friendship, adventure and magic.
When Oliver Bartholomew unleashes a torrent of curses from an ancient book of spells, he and his book club buddies must use their wits and imagination to unravel a series of twisted clues. In a race against time, the five friends must uncover the missing pieces of glass and mend the book’s shattered sceptre. Only then, will the balance of nature be restored.
With some advice from a zany fortune teller, Ollie and his friends set off on their search, unaware that they are being followed. To succeed in their quest, the boys must battle the conniving headless horseman and anything else that stands in their way. If they fail….
….they will be cursed forever!
The target audience for this chapter book is most likely to be children aged 8-11 years old who enjoy the work of authors such as Kate Forsyth and George Ivanoff.
I am a Brisbane-based writer of children’s picture books and chapter books. My previous publishing credits include short stories in Short and Twisted (Celapene Press), children’s stories on the Kids’ Book-Review website, poems in Positive Words Magazine and a children’s story in The School Magazine (Countdown). A full list of my publications is attached.
I undertook the writing of this book after hearing a group of friends organising a playdate for their sons one afternoon. I envisaged a story about a ‘boys club’ where all the boys love reading, have different characteristics, get into lots of mischief and go on hair-raising adventures. I wrote this book to encourage boys to read more and enjoy reading.
Please be advised that I am sending this submission to other agents and publishers.
Many thanks for considering my work I look forward to hearing from you.
Still too rigid? Perhaps I need to add another sentence – I’m passionate about…
I follow Kathy Temean’s fantastic writing blog and she has a very helpful post on Successful Query Letters and Winning Examples that you may like to look at, as well as other helpful information about publishers and writing for children.
Have you written a query letter? I’d love to see other examples.