|* One-inch margins all around. Classic font like Times New Roman or Garamond. 11-point font.
* Only one space after a period.
* Italicize magazine and book titles. "Quotes" around article titles.
* One page. Single-spaced. Double spaced between paragraphs. This is not a hard and fast rule. Some editors prefer no spaces between paragraphs with indented (using the tab key) paragraphs.
* Include SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) Make it as professional as possible, printing it on your computer. I usually place the publisher's name in the upper left corner and a date.
* Send letter in a number ten business envelope. (Again, print it on your
* Don't skimp on format if you are e-querying. The same format applies whether you send the query in an envelope or through cyber-space. Nothing is more unprofessional than a familiar email-ish tone in a query.
Training Tip #2. Keep the correct elements in order.
Fax, & Email address.
Publisher Name (Or Agency Name)
Dear Correctly Spelled Name of Editor/Agent:
Lead paragraph. Catch the editor's attention in a lead. This should sound like the well-honed pitch you've developed, the kind you can say quickly in an elevator. The first sentence should be POW! Work on that first sentence until your mind cramps. It's the first impression you'll make. Though you are a novelist and are gifted writing stories, this is the time to put on your non-fiction hat. Ask your critique group to help you craft an excellent first paragraph.
The body can be one to two paragraphs long. Be succinct and to the point. Use bullets. One way to garner attention is to do a brief marketing analysis paragraph, showing how your book is similar to others that are doing well, and yet how it fills a unique niche in the market you are writing for. If you know other well-known authors who have read your manuscript and agreed to endorse it, mention it here.
List your publications, memberships, awards, etc. Try to list only those accomplishments that relate to your book. Don't exaggerate.
Would Name of Publisher be interested in publishing Amazing Name of Your Book? I can have a copy ready for you at your convenience.
Closing. I like "Warmly." Type your name under the closing, leaving room for you to sign the query.
Place for listing enclosures (typically a novel query includes a bio (with picture), 2-3 page synopsis of the book and the first three chapters).
Training Tip #3. Exude Professionalism
* Query, even if you've met with an editor at a writer's conference.
* Use high quality paper, but not pink or flowered or rose-smelling.
* Don't include gimmicks or cutesy gifts with the query.
* Do not forget to include all your contact information. Instead of typing this over and over, develop a professional-looking letterhead. If you have letterhead, start with the date and then type the editor's name. Writing your contact information again is redundant in that case.