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

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Do’s and Don’ts of a Successful Overview

To summarize, keep in mind these do’s and don’ts when writing your overview:
• Do keep this section brief, to the point, and focused on top-level information. You can add supporting data later.
• Do remember the importance of the hook. You must reel in the agent or editor with irresistible bait or deliver a knockout punch.
• Do make sure your overview conveys why your book is different from the competition, why there’s an audience for it, and why you’re qualified to write it.
• Don’t overwhelm the agent or editor with verbiage at this point. Remember that you’re dealing with a busy professional; respect his time accordingly.
• Don’t drift from the point, become familiar or chatty, or let yourself get sloppy. ...

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