Craft Tuesday: The query letter Part 4

I forgot that the first Tuesday in September was supposed to be CRAFT TUESDAY and the last section of Writing the Query Letter.  I think I was hysterical as the month moved closer to my October 1 deadline.  I’ve submitted the complete to my editor.  I’m mostly sane again.  Here’s the final section.

This is a short because I’m winding things us AND hoping to be inundated with questions.

Two attachments I always include in the query letter.   1) the synopsis which I’ve mentioned before and 2) a contest/publishing history.  At a certain time in your writing life, you will have honors to mention.  As your contest wins or finals increase, as you publish in magazines or journals, there will not be enough space in a query letter and any such list will be confusing.    In the query letter, mention the really important information:  Golden Heart finalist, First place in the Emily.  Mention these also on the contest/publishing history page.  Repetition doesn’t hurt.  I always listed them most recent date at the top.  If you’ve written many articles, chose the most relevant and important.

Here’s an examples:

Publishing History of Jane Myers Perrine


The Mad Herringtons                     Avalon Books                                   2002

The Grenade in the Backyard        Houston Chronicle                           1999


Contests        (I’ve made all these up)                                                                             

Manuscript                            Contest/year                                  Placement/Genre 

The Turn of the Gerbil         Heart for Love  2004                  Third/Young adult

                                                         Far Away/ 2003                           First

Manny the Man                       Perfect Hero/2004                     Secon/Romance

You get the idea.  This is a neat, professional and very clear way to show your past work.  Sorry about the alignment of columns–WordPress doesn’t’ like them.

One more thought:  keep your query letter simple and easy to understand.  An on-line friend put up a letter she was going to send in.  The gimmick was that the heroine of the book wrote the letter in her own voice with her own information.  I’ve never been more confused because there was no explanation.  I didn’t say a word because I was a very newbie at the time and others who knew so much more thought it was wonderful.  I bet the editor didn’t.   Editors and agents go through thousands of queries a month.  If yours is hard to read or confusing, yours will not be read.

THE LAST WORD!   In order to interest an editor or an agent, you have to prove your talent.  The place to start is with your first contact:  a well-written query letter.

Any questions on writing a great query letter?