Whether you dream of catching the attention of a publisher or are simply trying to snag an excellent editor for your self-published book, there’s no better way to present yourself and your work than with a query letter. Writing a query letter is rather straightforward if you’re writing fiction. You simply pitch the story and try to hook the reader. However, if you intend to write a query letter for a nonfiction book then things become a bit trickier. Nonfiction is often sold on the basis of a proposal so it’s essential to draft a query letter that gets the job done. It becomes even more complicated when you take into account the many different types of nonfiction that there are such as memoirs, biographies, narrative nonfictions, and reference books. If you find yourself ready to start sending out query letters for your nonfiction work then here’s what you need to know.
When drafting a query letter there are several things that should be included in the very first paragraph, no matter what type of writing you have to pitch. You should begin your letter with personalization. Do you have a connection with this agent or editor? Were you referred to them by someone they know? This type of connection will help get you a foot in the door and needs to be mentioned right away. At this point you can launch into the hook. Give a taste of your writing that you hope will tantalize them into continuing with the letter. It can either be a sentence from the writing or the promise of what’s in store. After this, list your credentials. If you have a big e-mail subscription base for your blog or if you’re well-known on YouTube then these things can help a potential publisher or editor recognize your merit. Finally, end with the target readership so that everyone knows exactly the audience you’re hoping to capture with your work.
Defining and finding your target audience are often the biggest hurdles for nonfiction work. It’s very important that you have a strong way to define the target audience. This doesn’t mean listing 18-34 year olds as your audience. This means bringing in information like “this book targets the 2 million corporate employees who quit their job every month”. It’s specific and intriguing. It also opens the door to the idea that people who haven’t yet quit their corporate jobs would also be interested in this book. It’s a powerful way to get someone’s attention while also reiterating the importance of your work.
Your query letter should be roughly one to one-and-a-half pages, single-spaced. You should also try to use this letter as an opportunity to show that you’re a good writer rather than wasting time in the letter explaining that you are, in fact, an excellent writer. Don’t broach the subject of your best times to be reached or, even worse, trying to set up a meeting with the editor or publisher right away. It’s a vetting process and it takes some time. Put yourself out there and wait for them to make the next move.
Writing a quality query letter is not an easy task and it’s especially difficult if you’re writing nonfiction. Take this guide to heart and you’ll find that it will make the task much easier. Check out all the incredible advice in the full article below!
Read the full article here: The Complete Guide to Query Letters: Nonfiction Books
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