The Art of the Query

I think I’ve finally perfected the query letter. It wasn’t easy, and it’s been a long time coming, but I think I’ve written a letter that will hook editors on my poetry manuscript.

My query letter begins by explaining the overall concept behind the poems and their recurring themes before describing the particulars of the collection, such as length and the number of poems in the collection that have been previously published.

Then, I delve into my background as a writer, including my professional credentials as a journalist in addition to my achievements as a poet.

I close with a pitch that wraps my professional reputation up with my ability as a poet, touching on the marketing potential that exists because of my professional life.

Seems simple, but for too long I neglected to give my query letter the attention it needed to be an effective tool for pitching my manuscript. And the thing is, my perfect query letter is rooted in the manuscript itself.

Before, I didn’t have an effective query because I didn’t have a grip on the themes of my collection, and I didn’t have the poems organized based on those themes, which give a poetry manuscript a sort of narrative arc.

Once I got a handle on my manuscript, the bulk of the query content got much easier.

In the past, I have had a tendency to keep my professional writing life separate from my “hobby” writing life, but as I have shored up my collection, I have discovered that my two writing lives are increasingly intertwined. So I decided to begin to leverage my professional credentials to boost my poetry, and primarily occurs in my query letter but also bleeds into my relationships with other poets and through my social networks.

Of course, the perfect query letter isn’t set in stone, so I’m prepared to re-perfect it to fit the needs of particular editors and publishers – and to adapt to whatever successes my query letter brings me.


~ by ericedits on November 16, 2011.

One Response to “The Art of the Query”

  1. Very best wishes with this query letter and all that it reaps.


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