The first step you must take before you can sell an article or book is to write a query letter to the publisher you are trying to sell it to. Query letters aren’t long and complicated, but they are vital to getting your work seen and sold. A good query letter can make all the difference in the world between getting a job and becoming one of the millions of other writers in the world who are writing more query letters than actual work.
A query letter is the first impression of you and your writing style and ability that a publisher is going to see, so you want to make sure it’s impeccable. Before a publisher will even agree to see your actual work they will want to know what it is about. The query letter is where you get the chance to tell them. For this reason it is of the utmost importance that you write a clear and compelling query letter and keep you purpose focused.
A query letter should not be longer than one page, and it should clearly state and sell your idea for the article or book. As far as article writing goes, there are several elements to look at when writing your query letter. Each element is crucial to getting your submission sold. This is where you can make it or break it.
Paragraph 1-An attention getting introduction
Paragraph 2-The details
Paragraph 3-Your personal history and information stated briefly
Paragraph 4-The thank you paragraph, this is where you thank the editor and tell them you will follow up.
There are many reasons for writing a query letter, but perhaps the most important one is that publishers are getting proposals for submissions hundreds, if not thousands, of times a day. It would be impossible for them to read through that many full manuscripts. With a one page query letter, they can scan through it quickly and get an idea if whether or not they are interested immediately.
An idea of what an excellent query letter contains is: a query letter that fits in with the market you are submitting to, it is quick and to the point, it is convincing, it is professional, and it makes promises that you can deliver. If you have ensured that you have included all of these elements, than you have written a good query letter. Now, that doesn’t mean your article will be purchased, but it should mean that your idea won’t be dismissed out of hand. Remember that there are all kinds of reasons why an article doesn’t sell. They maybe already have that idea in the works and have a staff member to write it, or they have done something similar in the recent past. Don’t let a rejection get you down. The query letter is the first thing a publisher will know about you, and it is vital that this first impression is impressive. If you follow this advice, you are sure to get your work sold.