Drafting your query letter can be one of the most difficult times in the process of trying to get your novel published. Cutting down an 80,000 word novel into just a mere two paragraphs can definitely cause you to lose sleep and want to pull all your hair out. But, alas, if you want to sign with a publisher or agent, you can’t skip this dreaded step.
When you are trying to fit everything into three measly little paragraphs, you don’t want to miss any of the information you should include by instead putting in information you shouldn’t. So what are the “don’ts” of writing a query?
DON’T FORGET YOUR INFORMATION
Email address, telephone number, fax number, home address, and your website must all be included in your query letter. Even if the publisher or agent never calls you on the telephone or sends mail to your home, leaving out vital information could be a sign that you aren’t organized, which could be a deal breaker for them.
You think your writing is better than Stephen King’s and you are going to be the next J.K. Rowling. While that may or may not be true, no agent or publisher is going to want to sign a client whose ego can’t fit through the door. Writing is subjective and not everyone is going to think you are as great as you do, and instead of just telling people how good you are, show them with your amazing query letter and noteworthy novel.
DON’T INCLUDE MEANINGLESS CREDENTIALS
Did you get a A+ on your college English paper? Are you a member of a certain writing club? Maybe even a board member? While those certainly have some say into your writing experience, they really don’t scream to a publisher or agent that you are going to be desired by the general public. Credentials should be saved for the important stuff, like winning one, or a few, major contests with your writing or novel.
DON’T ADD FLUFF
Be straight and to the point with the major plot points of your novel. Stick to the hooking beginning, the twist in the middle, and the climax that will leave readers in an emotional tailspin they will want to read your novel over and over again just for the thrill. Adding unnecessary details of the novel will only take away space in your two paragraphs and leave your query flat and uninteresting.