Query Letters that Win- The Business Side
I’ve already discussed the more personal aspects of grabbing an agent’s attention during the query process. Now let’s take this a step further and look at the business side of your query letter.
Knowing the market. How many of your friends are itching to read another book with sparkling vampires, boy wizards who are orphans, and/or stories of going to another country post a divorce? Sit there a moment and mull on this. Do we need a repeat of an already overly popular idea? My favorite queries are the ones who show some originality, who may have some similarities but know how to stand out on their own too.
While comic book fans will certainly be interested in the book, I believe that it will also appeal generally to women (and men) who grew up reading Wonder Woman comics or watching her television program. Given the current success of comic book characters in film and television, and the upcoming Wonder Woman television show on NBC, I feel that a provocative and informative book about Wonder Woman could garner both press and consumer attention.
- The final result was WONDER WOMAN UNBOUND, of which I’m still giddy about it being released this year. Tim knew who his market was, and due to working hard with his publisher, the reaction by readers and reviewers was very positive. (#happyagent)
Bringing a built-in audience. Yes, writing is a very isolated task, that’s to be expected. Yet many people want to write books, only so many books can be published a year . . . and read by those readers one hopes to reach. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, it’s important to be surrounded by people in the writing community, as this will provide a sense of support. Join a writing group, get your work workshopped & workshop others’ books too, and find a good organization (or a few) to network with writers AND publishing types. This can then be shared in the query letter.
This is best accomplished by reaching out to other writers, as many of our clients have done at Red Sofa. Try to block off a few hours every week (or every other week) to be around other writers. Share your work to one another, go on an adventure in the name of research, attend a book reading, join a writing organization, and more. When we look at queries, we’re also curious what the author is like, hoping s/he has built a strong network. Your query should reflect this network.
Knowing and interacting with the intended market for your book is always a good idea. Your idea will benefit and hopefully the book #s will have a positive effect too.