First off, sorry I haven’t posted in over a month. Or has it been two months? Things got kind of crazy between March and April (consisting of exams). Now that summer is here, I’m able to redirect my attentions back to the blog. I’ve developed a three point marketing strategy to help expand, as well as bring you guys more information and stories!
I’ll talk about the news first! I’ll be bringing on guest blog spots starting the 20th. You can look at my contact page to learn about available dates if you’re interested in a guest blog spot. These are mostly for published (or publishing) authors. LGBTQ friendly (obviously!).
I’m also now open to accepting submissions for reviews. If you have a novel that you’d like to get reviewed, please e-mail me or fill out the contact form. At the time, I’m really only accepting erotic romance (f/f, f/m, m/m, and ménage), fantasy, horror, and sci-fi.
On the writing side of things, I’ve submitted the final Meteora Trilogy novel to my editor. I’ll keep everyone updated on when it’s expected out and the editing process. I’ve also been working on another side project, but I’m going to keep that one under wraps for now. I’m super excited for it, though!
Now that I’ve updated everyone on what’s going on, how about I get to the actual post? As I promised (way back in March), I’d do a post on Query Letter writing. It’s probably one of the scariest parts of the writing process. You’ve finished writing, editing, re-writing, and re-editing your baby. It’s perfect (to you, at least). Now it’s time to submit to an agent/publishing house in hopes of getting published.
I’ll be honest; half of it is about luck. You can have a flawless query letter, and even then you might not land that agent you had your heart set on. Sometimes it boils down to the small details. So keep in mind, even if you get passed up, it doesn’t mean your story is bad. It could be that that particular agent may have taken on a story just like yours already, or maybe the genre your story is in isn’t exactly what they’re interested in. Those small details can really make or break a decision, so don’t get disheartened if you receive a slew of rejection letters. Chalk it off as experience and keep on chugging through. You may have to redraft your query a few times, but if you’re persistent and hardworking, you’ll succeed.
Here is an outline of the basic query:
Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. [Insert name], (this is where you’ll put the name of the agent. Double check to make sure you spell their name right. This is your very first impression and you want it to be a good one. DO NOT address it as Agent, Publisher, or so forth. It shows both a lack of respect and laziness.)
Dear Ms. Harte,
Here is where the body of the letter will go. The basic information that should be included in a query are: summary, word count, title, genre, and credentials (including previously published work). If an agent or publisher is looking for anything else, they will list it on their submissions page. Always double check each individual agent’s submissions page.
Summary (This should be no more than two to three paragraphs long. Make it catchy and concise. Imagine it as the summary on a dust jacket. Include a hook as the first sentence to draw the reader in.)
Not sleeping with your partner is an unspoken rule amongst cops. (This is a hook. It’s catchy and immediately draws in the reader.) Theo Bourne never had that problem until, what he thought was going to be a one-night stand, turned out to be so much more. Theo returned to Columbus looking to escape tragedy, but what he found was a chance at retribution. (In two sentences we get the overall premise of the story.)
When Theo finds out the stranger he shared an earth shattering night with is his new partner, Theo is determined to keep their relationship platonic. But Carlos Ramirez, Alpha to the local werecoyote pack, is not one to be deterred; especially since he’s been pining for Theo since high school. Now that Carlos has the chance to be with him, Carlos isn’t letting Theo out of his grasp. If only Theo would cooperate! (Here, both main characters are introduced. We’re giving a clear idea of their personalities, and we also get a clear conflict. The tone of the paragraph also gives an idea to the style/voice of the story.)
They’re going to have to figure out a way to stop fighting in ordered to get some work done. Werewolves are showing up dead all over Columbus and it’s up to them to figure out why. But solving the case isn’t easy, especially when the sexual tension between them is running so high. And when a killer from Theo’s past returns, things only get more complicated. If Theo ever wants to sort out his feelings for Carlos, he’s going to have to finally put his past to rest. (Here we’re brought to a close. We get a clear of idea of what the conflict is, what is at stake, and are enticed by the provided information. Who is the killer from Theo’s past? What happened in Theo’s past that is holding him back?)
Book information (This is where you’ll include word count, title, and genre)
The Hunting Moon is a paranormal romance set in Columbus Ohio, which follows the budding relationship of Theo Bourne and Carlos Ramirez, two detectives on the Columbus Police Department Preternatural Task Force. The story centers around Theo, who returns home to Columbus in order to restart his life. It starts with an erotic bang and is filled throughout with steamy sex scenes, random blowjobs, and coins a new definition for the word sponge bath. (In all honesty, this paragraph is unnecessary and should be deleted. I’ve left this here to show what isn’t needed. This is just extra information that has already been shown in the paragraph above. Mistakes like these don’t always break your chances of landing a deal, though. Despite having this, I still landed a contract.)
The Hunting Moon (here you should italicize or uppercase the title) is 89,500-words (here I list my word count. I would also move the genre here.) and is part of the Theo Bourne Series, which chronicles Theo and Carlos’ relationship and cases. (This is the tricky part. Series are touch-and-go with agents/publishing houses. Some will want you to state up front that it is. Some will state they aren’t interested in a series. Your best bet is to read the submission/agent information. If you plan on making it a series, but aren’t sure, than just state that this story has the POTENTIAL to be a series. Always right your series books, though, as a stand alone. Then, if they want to option for more, they will.)
Credentials (Finish with your credentials. List any previously published works (magazines, novels, etc.), awards, and any pertinent information, such as degrees. If you have a culinary degree and you’re writing a medical mystery, there is no need to include that information. But if you’re a lawyer and you’re writing a legal drama, definitely state that you’re pre-law. Also, include any outstanding social networking information. Agents do follow up on this, so do not lie, but if you have a successful blog or twitter account, let them know. Agents love to find out that you’ve already done some of the leg work and have a following. It shows that you’re not going to shy away from getting your hands dirty.) In the same paragraph, note any attached documents that they requested, and thank the agent/publisher for his or her time. (They are taking time out of their day to review your work, the least you can do is thank them.)
(At the time I wrote my previous query, I didn’t have any credentials. But here is an example of what my credentials would now look like.)
Under the pen name Evelyn Shepherd, I’ve published eight previous novels. My horror series, The Meteora Trilogy, won EPIC’s best in horror. My romantic fantasy A Summoner’s Dirge was an All Romance best seller. I currently host a successful writing blog on tumblr, where my posts have received over two thousand reblogs. Attached are the first five pages, as requested on your submissions page. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you. (This summarizes my writing career in a single paragraph and ends on a respectful note.)
[Insert name and contact info] (it’s important to provide all available information. That means address, phone number, e-mail, and any links to previously mentioned social medias, such as a website or twitter account.)
Jane Doe (Post your real name, not your pen name)
1234 Main St,
Normalville, Ohio, 12345 (this is my up to date contact information)
www.blog.tumblr.com (this is the link to the blog I mentioned.)