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

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Query Letter Basics

Despite its emphasis on storytelling and talent, many of the elements that make up a good fiction query letter are the same as for nonfiction. We summarize them here, but review Chapters 3, 4, and 5 for the basics on writing any type of query letter.

Keep It Short

A fiction query letter should be limited to one page if you are sending it snail mail, or four or five paragraphs if e-mailing it.

Do Your Research

Really immerse yourself in the category you are writing in. Read lots of works that are similar, study the section in bookstores and libraries, talk to readers who are passionate about your category, and attend related seminars or writers’ conferences. Become an expert in your category. This is a business, and ...

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