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The Complete Idiot's Guide® To Book Proposals & Query Letters by Coleen O'Shea, Marilyn Allen

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What’s Your Nonfiction Category?

We’ve received hundreds of nonfiction query letters on hundreds of different topics over the years. But every one of these letters fits in a certain nonfiction subcategory, each with its unique “take” on the general query. Let’s go over the most popular nonfiction categories to see where you fit in. For each category, we’ve included annotated examples of poor and good query letters.

The Memoir Query

A memoir is a narrative that focuses on a personal time, experiences, or people in your life. The story may be all about you, but it has to be universal enough to interest other people besides your wife, your husband, or your Uncle Bob. (Think A Year in Provence by Peter Mayles.) Don’t confuse a memoir with an ...

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