A Query Letter Begins With Research

A Query Letter Begins With Research

by Judy Spring Query letters… Dun-dun-duuuuuun. (silence) All serious authors face crafting a query letter at some point in their career, and many come to it with dread and apprehension. Most stress and agonize about summarizing their manuscript succinctly so that it invites a publisher to continue on, reading the first few chapters once the letter is complete. It’s nerve-wracking! We are constantly told, “Be yourself, but in a standard way that sticks out.” It is possible that these conflicting messages meshed together are what cause confusion and anxiety when contemplating query letters. The goal of this article is to alleviate that stress by offering some resources and tips about crafting what could be the most important letter of your career. The first step: research. Everywhere you look, that’s the first suggestion you will find. Nichole Canniff, the Chief Operation Officer here at Spectacle Publishing Media Group, LLC has offered this tidbit of her experience: “One thing I cannot stand is when a query letter comes in that isn’t complete per our directions on the website. I might make an exception for a manuscript that is really good; however, when a publisher asks for the first three chapters, a bio, chapter summary and a synopsis—send them all per their instructions. If you do not know what they require, find out. It is unprofessional to submit a query that is incomplete. Most publishers will reject the query right away.” In other words, make sure to read submission guidelines for the publisher before sending in your query. This can be easily accomplished by doing a search on the Internet with the keywords of the company name followed by ‘submission guidelines.’ For your convenience, here is the link to SPMG’s submissions page: http://www.spectaclepmg.com/submissions/. (We are currently not processing any queries until November 3rd, which gives you just enough time to really polish your manuscript and query letter!) Next, make sure to read different ways to approach writing query letters so you can present your genre, your voice, and your story in the best light it deserves while still following the specific guidelines. Canniff warns, “There are a lot of examples of good query letters on the Internet: the format, what to include in the letter itself, etc. Research it, but at the same time, make sure you are putting your own spin to the letter. If you submit a cookie-cutter query letter that all authors are submitting to publishers, you will be no more impressionable than another author.” Websites and blogs all over the Internet warn of this mistake, and a querying author would be very wise to heed the warning. It is possible to find a balance between the standard requirements...

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Why can’t I just publish it myself?

Of course! But at Spectacle, our philosophy is that writers should write. When you self-publish you’ll become your own agent, your own PR specialist, your own marketing team and sometimes even your own graphic designer. We figure you’d rather be writing. At Spectacle, we take all our submissions very seriously. There’s no such thing as a “slush pile” here. No matter what your skill level, we evaluate your manuscript and get back to with a personal note. If we think your piece is really good, we’ll work with you to get it into shape. You want your best work to be out there, to be read and experienced as you meant it to be. A free round of editing is worth it, right? I’ve published books on my own. I know the temptation. Just spell check it and submit it to Amazon/B&N/Whoever. Well, that’s the idea but it never seemed to work like that. The formatting for eBooks is actually a little complicated. This goes back to professionalism – we all want to look like we know what we’re doing. After publishing the books, I posted on Facebook, my blog, a few other places and I saw some sales. Then, with nothing new to say, they became buried in the lists of other self-published eBooks. Don’t get me wrong eBooks are the future. But the traditional publishing industry has given up on editing and personal feedback. Editors don’t edit – they select what is salable. At Spectacle, we actually edit. Trust me, editing is a good thing. Even the best of us tends to get to close to out work, to not see the holes in the plot or the pacing issues. Sometimes a beautifully poignant scene, written as if the muse Calliope herself had channeled through the author takes place in a sensory void – destroying the dream. The author knows the place, but the audience doesn’t. That’s where a good editor comes in. Many authors find that they simply don’t have the time or expertise to effectively market their work. We provide each of our novel authors with a comprehensive marketing package, compiled by professional Internet marketers. Take advantage of that! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Spectacle Fiction Contest!

Spectacle Publishing Media Group is offering a $100.00 prize in our inaugural publication fiction contest. All writers qualify! Experienced authors and new talent! We’re seeking fiction or creative non-fiction tales about “life changing events” for the better or for the worse. The collection is entitled “On The Brink…” 2,500-5,000 words character driven stories all genres This contest continues until the 15th of August. There is NO submission fee. That goes against everything we believe in. Send your stories with a brief introduction to let us know if it’s a light or dark story to Submissions@spectaclepmg.com. Please be aware that by submitting your stories to SPMG you are granting consent for those materials to be published. Click here for more information about publishing with SPMG. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Current Needs: Short Stories for “On The Brink…”

Spectacle Publishing Media Group LLC is currently seeking short story submissions from new talent and established authors. Our On The Brink anthologies are twin books featuring stories about life altering decisions. We’re realists and we know not all those moments are a party, so we’re publishing two sets of stories, the light and the dark. 5,000 words or less. Send submissions to submissions@spectaclepmg.com. Remember, we never turn away interested writers, so if you’ve got longer material, send us a query at queries@spectaclepmg.com!   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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