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Take the Time to Write a Great Query Letter & Book Proposal

woman on street looking at phone by Ono Kosuki

An agent walking down 6th Avenue in New York, so the story goes, stops at a traffic light. While waiting for the light to change to WALK, she starts thumbing through the  unread emails on her phone. Her goal is to delete 100 query letters before the light changes.

Your job:   write the one that she does not delete.

Like every writer who wants to find a publisher, you need to craft that killer, 300-word query letter. And then – what if the agent responds? You will need to back up the query letter with a book proposal – and sample chapters of a finished draft that reads the way you intended it: professional, clear, and above all, interesting. Usually that means short, vivid, gripping enough to command attention, and free of careless errors. That’s a professional job. Reaching that standard is a demanding job.

Similarly, if you are among the writers who set out to self-publish – and sometimes that’s the right path forward – you will need a description to grace your back cover and provide one of the three descriptions –– long, medium, and short –– that will engage potential readers online.

Even more so, both types of writer – the self-publishing one especially – need to offer up a perfect draft, a completed and satisfying read, free of typos and grammatic errors, that demonstrates that you are in charge of your subject. That’s what the pros call a Level 5 book. When you self-publish there is no in-house editor to go over your work, not even a copy-editor or proof-reader. You are the one who ensures that it’s right.

You would do better with an editor, and you deserve an editor

  • who is dedicated to your success,
  • who can set the bar high for you and show you how to get over it,
  • who can spot your flaws and show you how to correct them without discouraging you,
  • who knows how to support you in getting the work done through days and weeks of sustained effort,
  • who can help you shape the story line into a compelling narrative that your reader can’t put down, and
  • Who knows how to draft and re-draft successful book proposals and query letters until you get your book to the readers who want or need it.

And How an Editor Can Help You Do It

The editor who can get you to your goal is an editor who practices what the Buddhists call “Ruthless Compassion.”

That means one who, on the one hand, will appreciate your work and experiences, understand your goal, and remind you that you are gifted, and on the other hand, will tear into your writing fiercely, find the core values, point out where you can pare it down to the right details, correct your unexpected errors, unfortunate sentences, and awkward word choices, and demand your best from you, holding you to the highest standards.

Think you’re up to it?

If we choose to work together, then you will be.

You are worthy of embarking on the arduous journey that starts with nothing but your determination and a blank page and ends with your completed project that says exactly what you want to say in your true voice and that will move your reader the way you intend.