HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Lyle Seaunier

    Look what I found !

    I found this at the following address.


    How to Write a Query Letter Guaranteed to Get You A Million Dollar Book Advance!!!
    By Chris Gavaler

    Dear Author,

    Literary fame and fortune is only a postage stamp away! All you have to do is read this article and follow a few easy instructions! Enclosed is every trick you need to make agents swoon at the sight of your query letter! Read on and reap the benefits!

    Your first goal is to get the agentís attention. Colored paper (the glossier the better) and flashy fonts (bauhaus and FAJITA are my favorites) work every time. Otherwise print quality and general appearances donít matter in a query letter. Length, however, is important. Thereís a lot to be said about your book, so donít worry about filling two, three or even four pages. But if youíre a stickler about the one-page rule, condense to a smaller font.

    Skip the date and any other professional formalities (your own address isnít needed because you already put it on the envelope). If you do type in the agentís address (a pain because youíll have to do it again for each agent you send to), skip the contact name. Turn-over in agencies is huge, so even if you did target a specific person he or she might be long gone before you even mail your letter. "Dear Agent" or "To Whom It May Concern" work just as well, or if the agencyís name sounds like a personís name use that instead. The individual agents will know what you mean. If you do have a specific agent in mind, use his or her first name; that will help establish a close, chummy relationship right off the bat.

    Once you get past the "Dear Jane," all of your queries are going to be identical regardless of which agents you send them to. It doesnít matter what kind of books and genres specific agents represent; if they call themselves agents then they will be able to sell your book to a top publisher for a big advance figure. Markets donít matter. Real writers donít curtail their creative impulses according to perceived audiences. Besides, your market potential is unlimited. Donít pigeonhole yourself by identifying a genre youíre writing in; "fictional novel" is all you need to say. Your only job is to write. But if you do have some marketing strategies, describe them in as much detail as possible; agents will consider these to be more important than your actual project.

    The fact that the book industry is in such shambles (as demonstrated by the barrage of bad writing getting published) is a result of lazy and unscrupulous publishers and their lackeys, the agents. Make sure the agents know youíre on to their scam. Make it clear that they are auditioning for you. Demand that they send extensive reports on their clients and publications records, as well as their Hollywood contacts. Also be wary of theft; agents are known for stealing ideas from prospective writers then publishing the novels themselves. To be safe, place a copyright symbol on every page of your manuscript.

    The query letter should emphasizes style over substance. Hype is paramount. Use as many adjectives and exclamation points as possible. Hyperboles are even better. Guarantee a number one best seller. Bragging inspires confidence. Compare yourself to successful authors and explain how you are better than they are (references to obscure and overtly non-commercial literary works can be effective, too).

    Itís also good to apologize in advance for bothering agents. If you stress your lack of experience, they will be more understanding and receptive. What matters most is your enthusiasm. Tell them how much you love to write! Mention how much your family and friends loved your book; include quotes if possible. If youíve written other novels, talk about them, too, and why you failed to get them published. Talk about all your previous failures. The most important thing is not to describe your current project clearly and accurately. Clear information will enable agents to make an educated decision. Itís better to keep them guessing at this stage. Itís okay to explain your novelís various levels of meaning and overall literary significance, but keep the description of the story elements vague. If they want to know, they should have to read the book themselves. But if youíre worried that they might miss out, include a five- to ten-page synopsis.

    As you approach the end of the query, donít fall into the trap of describing yourself and your credentials. Everyone does that. What matters is that you have written a novel, not why anyone should consider you qualified or competent to have done so. Donít worry about stating your manuscriptís word count either (you might not even be done writing it yet!). And SASEís are for people who assume theyíre going to be rejected. Demonstrate your confidence; include no return postage (the wrong sized envelope is a cute trick, too).

    Finally, print and send the letter without another glance. Typos and grammatical errors reveal the spontaneous, Kerouac-esque energy of your writing. Also a disregard for simple instructions will impress agents with your free spirit. Go ahead; include an enormous writing sample, preferably a selection of random middle chapters. Or better, send the whole manuscript. Agents love writers with initiative.

    For a finishing touch, put an out-dated address on the envelope so it will arrive weeks later and with routing stamps from multiple post offices. If you miss that one-year forwarding deadline, just slot the old letter into a new envelope when itís returned to you (printing a new letter with an accurate date is a waste of time and paper). Agents also love receiving queries by certified or express mail; signing for unsolicited material creates an aura of importance. You could also go the next step and fax the query instead. That saves postage and gets the information to the agent faster.

    Now it may appear that your job is done, but thereís one more critical step: the all important phone work. Before sending the query, call the agent and attempt to keep him or her on the line as long as possible. The key is to make an impression. Ask lots of questions and, if possible, read portions of your query and/or synopsis aloud. Call again after sending the query. Most mail only needs two days to reach its destination, so waiting a week is more than enough time. Donít be put off by receptionists or receptionists posing as other agents. Keep calling, as many times as you deem necessary. Be aggressive, even rude. Donít take no for answer. If worst comes to worst, show up in person, no appointment needed.

    Follow these easy steps and in no time at all you too will be a millionaire author!

    Chris Gavaler is the author of Pretend Iím Not Here, a romantic suspense being published by HarperCollins in July 2002. Chris Gavaler is also the author of numerous query letters, very very few of which resemble the above article. For more information, writing advice, FREE chapters, or correspondence, visit http://www.ChrisGavaler.com.

    This article may be freely reprinted/redistributed as long as the entire article and bio are included.

  2. #2
    Trapped in amber

    Re: Look what I found !

    Lyle, you do realise this is a joke, right?
    It's funny and kind of useful as a checklist of what not to do )

  3. #3
    Mya Bell

    Re: Look what I found !

    That's hilarious, Lyle, thanks for posting. I'm going to giggle about that all day.

    --- Mya Bell

  4. #4
    Eliza Boone

    Re: Look what I found !

    "Bragging inspires confidence" - I'll make a note of that.There's no virtue in timidity. Brilliant, very enjoyable, thanks....Eliza B

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts