ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tips to Improve Your Chances with Writing Agents and Publishers

Updated on June 30, 2014

Any Tip Would Be Helpful…am I Right?

The shark-infested waters are deep, and the shoreline miles away, leaving you dog-paddling like crazy with slim hopes of survival.

A bit drastic? Not at all if we are talking about the traditional publishing world.

How many clichés apply? Dog eat dog…..it’s a jungle out there….they all apply for writers hoping to somehow catch on with a publishing firm. You know who you are. Yes, there are ebooks, but you’ve always dreamed of seeing your book on the bookshelves in major stores, and the only way to make that happen is to somehow sneak past the castle guards who rarely let anyone within sniffing distance of the moat.

No, there are no guarantees, but if you pay attention to the tips that follow, you will at least be giving yourself a fighting chance.

I have mentioned in other articles about the ungraded road before you. Agents and publishers receive hundreds, if not thousands, of query letters each month. EACH MONTH! Out of those, they might ask for more material twenty or twenty-five times, and from those finalists one writer might be chosen.

How’s that for a right cross to the face?

So the goal, then, is to at least become one of the twenty or twenty-five writers who are asked to send more material to the agent of publisher. Let’s take a look at some things you can do that will help you to stay in the game long enough for serious consideration.

The competition is great
The competition is great | Source

GET YOURSELF A COPY OF THE FOLLOWING

This is your first step. Either get a copy of The Writer’s Market or a copy of the Guide To Literary Agents. Both are very helpful. The Writer’s Market deals better with publishers, and obviously the other targets agents.

In these books you will find detailed information about agents and publishers currently doing business in North America and in some cases overseas. You will find what they are looking for, how to submit, and other pertinent information that is crucial as you move on to the next step.

THE QUERY LETTER

I have written several articles about this in the past, so I’m not going to repeat myself here. You can see those articles if you follow the link to the right. All I want to say for this article is that your query letter is every bit as important as the book you have written. If your query letter is not done perfectly, you will never convince an agent or publisher to read your book.

SENDING OUT QUERY LETTERS

Here is a tip I hope you take seriously.

The first week, send out five to ten query letters, and then resist the temptation to do more.

Now wait until you receive responses. You should be hearing back from agents and publishers within a couple weeks. If you have not heard back, or you do hear back but are rejected, you need to change your query letter because obviously it is not working for you.

Have someone else read your query letter and get their input. What can you change about it to make your book sound more enticing?

Once you have re-written your letter, send it out to five or ten more agents and then stop and wait again.

Do you see the logic in this? Why send a query to one-hundred agents if the query is poorly written? You don’t get do-overs in this business, so sending a different query to the same agent is a no-no. So pace yourself, send out a few, revise, and repeat the process.

ADAPT QUERY LETTER TO THE INDIVIDUAL AGENT OR PUBLISHER

I’m going to use an excerpt from a real agent’s website to demonstrate this next tip.

Elise is interested in fiction that has unforgettable writing, a terrific narrative voice/tone, and memorable characters. She loves novels with an unusual or eccentric edge and is drawn to stories she has never heard before. She aims to work with writers who are getting their work published regularly in magazines and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience. Some of Elise's recent and soon-to-be-published fiction titles include Tiphanie Yanique's Land of Love and Drowning (Riverhead) and How to Escape from a Leper Colony(Graywolf); Courtney Brkic's The First Rule of Swimming (Little, Brown); Rachel Toor's On The Road to Find Out (FSG); Jonathon Keats'The Book of the Unknown (Random House); Rikki Ducornet's Netsuke(Coffee House Press); Maureen McHugh's After the Apocalypse (Small Beer Press), which was picked as a "Top 10 Best of the Year" byPublishers Weekly; Ali Liebegott's The IHOP Papers (Carroll & Graf); Peter Plate's Soon the Rest Will Fall (Seven Stories Press); and more.

On the non-fiction front, Elise is looking for fascinating true stories told in a compelling way. Currently, Elise is especially interested in working with up-and-coming scholars (particularly historians) who are looking to transition from the academic market to a trade readership.

That passage from the agent’s website is so helpful. It tells you that she is looking for a terrific narrative voice and memorable characters.

Armed with that information, you should include in your query letter a reason why your characters are memorable and an example of your terrific narrative voice.

Do you see the advantage of this approach? You need to do this with every agent/publisher that you query.

How does my book compare to others in this genre?
How does my book compare to others in this genre? | Source

COMPARE YOUR BOOK TO OTHERS THAT ARE SIMILAR

Take another look at the passage above from Elise’s website. In it she mentions some of the book titles she currently represents. Now things really get interesting.

If you really want to improve your chances of being represented, choose one of those book titles and tell how your book is similar and thus a good match for Elise. Oh, I can hear the moaning from here.

Okay, what if you’ve never heard of any of those books? What do you do now?

Choose books that you have read that have similarities to your book, and use them as an example.

Why are we doing this? We want to give the agent/publisher some concrete impression of your book and what it is about….that’s why!

PAY ATTENTION TO SUBMITTING GUIDELINES

From the same agent’s website, here are the submissions guidelines:

Fiction: Please send a query letter, a 1-page synopsis, a brief bio (including a description of your publishing history), and the first 10-15 pages of your manuscript.Please send all items in the body of the email, not as an attachment.

Non-fiction: Please send a query letter, an overview of your project including a chapter outline, a brief bio (including a description of your publishing history), a description of competing books, and the first 10-15 pages of your first chapter. If we are interested, we will ask you to send your complete proposal. Please send all items in the body of the email, not as an attachment.

Submission tips:

  • Please review our agents' profiles (on our Meet the Agents page) to select the agent for whom your project is most appropriate, and send it to her attention. Make your submission to only one agent at our agency.
  • Let us know in your query letter if we are reading your work exclusively by including the word “EXCLUSIVE” in the subject line of your email.
  • Be sure to include all of your contact details (email address and phone number), so that we are able to reach you if we are interested in your project or if we have a question.
  • If you have relevant writing experience (articles, books), and/or have received writing awards, please include details in your cover letter. If you have been referred to us, please be sure to include that information in your cover letter.

Every single one of those instructions needs to be followed exactly when you submit. She asks for a one-page synopsis…do not send a two page synopsis. She asks for a brief bio…do not send a two-page bio. She specifically says do not add attachments (this is a kiss of death when submitting) so copy and paste everything in your email.

Your query letter will be rejected without being read if you do not follow these instructions.

Recycle old query letters and write improved ones
Recycle old query letters and write improved ones | Source

SELECT THE RIGHT AGENT FOR YOU

Every agency and publishing website will give you a brief bio of each agent working there. Read them all over and choose one to query. Do not choose more than one. If you send queries to several people in the same agency they will reject you without reading your query.

When you choose the agent you want to query, inform them in your query letter why you think they would be a good fit for you. This personalizes the query and shows the agent you went to the bother of doing some research.

IF YOUR PLATFORM IS WEAK

A standard query letter usually calls for a paragraph explaining your experience in writing. They do not want to hear that you a mother of two. They do not want to hear that you were valedictorian in school. What they do want to know is if you have game. They want to know if you have had articles published in magazines. They want to know if you have attended workshops, or if you’ve been published before and no, they could care less if you have self-published in the past.

If you have done none of these things then keep it simple and generic. Saying little is better than saying the wrong thing in this instance, and for the love of all that is holy, never tell them that you have zero experience.

That Should Get You Started

When I follow instructions to the letter, and when I incorporate the things I have mentioned in this article, it will take me about forty-five minutes to an hour to send one query letter. Does that seem like a long time to you? Well consider this: if you hurry through this process you are completely wasting your time. You might as well send nothing.

I want you to succeed, and I believe these tips will help you. I’ve only left one thing out, but it is the most important tip I can give you. Ready?

Work on your writing. Become the best writer you can be, and make it your goal to improve with each article and book you write. In the long run, I firmly believe that quality will win out. It’s up to you to make that quality happen.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you always Bill for the wonderful tips and of course I pinned to refer back to for when I may try my hand at doing this in the future. Happy Monday now!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Janine and thank you as always. Happy Monday to you.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 2 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Wow! So much to learn. Thanks Bill for sharing these step by step for a way to fly.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      Good tips as always, Bill. Thanks for everything you do to keep encouraging and teaching your fellow writers.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      BEHOLD! William D. Holland tops Amazon and NYT Bestseller Lists for 17 weeks in a row! Readers are anxiously awaiting his upcoming novel and agents are chomping at the bit to be the ones he chooses to use.

      Haha. Great tips!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, it is my pleasure dear friend. Thank you and have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb I gain a lot of satisfaction from this. Once a teacher always a teacher. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, what's that stuff you're smoking? LOL Oh, we can always wish, right? Thanks for the smile lil Sis!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 2 years ago

      Thank you again for taking the time to share advice which obviously took you a long time to uncover!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shelley, it really is a joy for me to share this stuff. We are a community, and friends help friends.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I had to go through a similar procedure when I had my first book published years ago.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing that DDE. The voice of experience is very helpful and important.

    • Torrs13 profile image

      Tori Canonge 2 years ago from California

      Lots of great tips! I haven't tried to write a book yet, but maybe one day I will test the waters and give it a try!

    • kulewriter profile image

      Ronald Joseph Kule 2 years ago from Florida

      Right on the mark(s), billybuc! Sound advice. I'm surprised there are not more comments here. I'm a published author (traditionally and self) looking for a career agent good with biographies, although I minor in fiction, too.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 2 years ago from Finland

      Great information! I hope I still have many years to live, because I have so much to learn about writing and publishing. I'll probably enter a crime novel writing competition here in Finland. The deadline is in March 2015. I'm not sure if I'm smart and fast enough to be writing my novel, but I'll give it a try, and it's so much easier to write in my own language, Swedish, than it is to write in English. One of your hubs a couple of days ago inspired me to keep writing the novel I started writing last year. Have a wondeful week Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Torrs, I am sure you will, and I'm sure you'll do a good job at it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you kulewriter. It's early; the comments will come steadily if history is any benchmark.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Made, you just made me smile and I thank you for it. I love when one of my articles inspires someone. Good for you for entering that contest, and good for you for continuing with your novel. Best wishes my friend.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Great advice as usual. In one paragraph you use the word realistic, Having absorbed the hub I think the author has to be realistic in every way. Great advice on how to write and pace the initial contacts.

      Graham.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, for agents who accept new authors, what experience do you relay to them? Is it advisable to mention HP and other sites where the author has a byline? How about blogs? And what does the new author do if none of this experience relates to the genre of the novel?

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Pinned, printed and filed! Thank you Bill for this useful information. You my friend, are generous to a fault, and will surely reap many blessings. One more fledgling stretching her wings and hoping to one day fly. have a wonderful day.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great stuff applicable to getting most stuff done in this crazy corporate world.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      Billy thank you so much for these kick-start tips.. I even voted this hub of the day.. hey mine and your vote means two so far..right? Other commentators.. please go and vote for this hub to be a hub of the day!!!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Graham! I think we are a society of instant gratification...writing is not that way. That is a reality all writers need to learn.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheez, Sha, instead of answer here, I'll answer in the Writer's Mailbag on Wednesday. How's that sound? Thanks for the questions.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks for sharing these great tips. I have a copy of the 2013 Writers Market. Do you suggest we buy a new one each year? And do you think it necessary or a good idea to have a paid membership through Writers Market?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      That sounds great. I just learned of your new series on your blog. Love it!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, blame it on my roots. :) Giving is in my genes, friend, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

      I do appreciate you, Jo. Have a marvelous week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Eric. Great point.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Frank, I love your attitude. Yes indeed, we now have two votes. A veritable tidal wave of voting. Thanks for the smile.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Melissa, good to hear from you. If you can afford it yes, buy a new Writer's Market each year....I get mine on ebay when I see a deal...I don't care if it is a couple months old...but a year old is pushing my luck because it needs updating after a year. A paid membership to Writer's Market??? the magazine? I don't know...I just get mine at the library because I do love it but I'm too cheap to pay the membership. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cool, Sha, and I just finished answering your question on that new hub.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Sorry Bill, I meant a paid subscription to their website...When I bought the book, it included a 1-year subscription to their website (its like getting the book, but they also send you updates to the listings throughout the year) and they have software to help you keep track of your submissions etc. I obviously haven't used it to the fullest extent...but I was just curious if you also referenced their website.

    • susi10 profile image

      Susan W 2 years ago from The British Isles, Europe

      Great hub on publication, Bill! It is a very crowded world out there for authors and the chances of getting published are slim. I will follow your tips on approaching publishers and agents, when I finish my novel. I am in the first few chapters - let's see if I get it finished! Shared and voted useful.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ahh, sorry about that Melissa....well, obviously I don't do that...I'm so old-fashioned that I keep track of my submissions myself....I guess, if it comes with the book, why not? How can it be a bad deal?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Susi10, best wishes on that novel. If these suggestions help then fantastic.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Showing how one's work is like another successful person's has got to just kill some writers! They want to be totally original (who doesn't?), but don't realize that publishers want to see how the writer's work can make them totally profitable. Sure, there are no guarantees that because one work is like another, it will be successful. But publishers want to hedge their bets. That's why movie studios do sequels!

      Also, telling a publisher how one's work is similar to another successful one helps the publisher determine what market would be attracted to the book. If it's a market he wants, it is more likely to gain some consideration.

      Even including potential target markets for one's book in a query letter would be recommended. That tells the publisher that the author understands the audience.

      Gaining a publishing contract isn't an award or reward, it's a sale.

      Okay, stepping off marketing soapbox. Voted up and sharing, of course!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, I just love your marketing attitude. Thank you for those points, all of which are right on! I learn from you daily my friend, and I thank you for it.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Great and useful lens. Excellent reference. Thanks for sharing! ;-)

    • M. T. Dremer profile image

      M. T. Dremer 2 years ago from United States

      Great info here. Working with agents (and publishers) is one of the most demoralizing (if not the most demoralizing) parts of the writing process. Take the book you poured your heart and soul into and treat it like a cold business transaction. Nevermind how much time you put into writing it and editing it to perfection, expect a lot of rejections with no explanation why. Then, when you run out of agents to query, get ready to dump all that work you did. Because you're going to have to write a whole new book if you still want to get into the traditional publishing market.

      The best chance to succeed in the traditional market is to write a lot of books and submit often. So, unfortunately, the writer who spends all their time perfecting one book just won't do well. They might get lucky and strike on a genre that is popular right now, but other than that, success is unlikely.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill. Glad you thought so.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      M.T. Dremer, unfortunately, everything you say is true. I wish I could sugar-coat your comment a bit, but I can't. :) Thanks for your input, which is right on.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      LO Bill,

      (Not so far down this time). I was asked by a development librarian in a neighbouring borough to do some free sessions at various libraries on self-publishing.

      The first thing I told my 'customers' was to buy a copy of the Writers & Artists' Yearbook (the UK version of your 'Writers' Market' that includes advice for commercial artists and illustrators). The next step, I told them, was to comb through the Agents' section for relevant agents, as they all specify different requirements, e.g., some will accept e-mailed submissions, others insist on mailed items - anything between just a letter and a letter, a synopsis, the first chapter/first 1,ooo words/an extract of your book and a biography in the third person - and only handle children's fiction/adult fiction/non-fiction etc.

      There were also the considerations of the 15% or so agents' fees vs keeping all your royalties. Then again an agent can get book signings, appearances on chat shows and so on, whereas you have to do your own 'donkey work' if you self-publish.

      '... And when you've got enough rejection slips to paper your bathroom with, then' - I advised - 'and only then go down the s/p road'.

      I had 25 'customers' - amongst which were only two or three time-wasters, and Rose - the development librarian at Redbridge - has hinted there might be a repeat in the autumn. For that I get to advertise my books at their expense, although the library book buyers Bertrams don't buy self-published books.

      Still... Ups and downs, eh?

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I consider the Writer's Market to be a must have for writers. It is a very worthwhile investment. Voted up, useful, interesting and always awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      you and me both, breakfastpop....now to convince others of that fact. :) Thanks for the endorsement.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, hello my friend. Valuable information here, and I wish I could force all of my followers to read your comments. I love that you did free sessions at the libraries....free in one sense but invaluable in another. Those are the types of gigs that will pay dividends in the long run for a writer.

      I have had my fill of self-publishing. From now on it is agent or bust.....I hope I don't have to eat those words. And of course, I reserve the right to change my mind. :)

      Thank you, Alan, and best wishes to you.

      bill

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 2 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

      Billy, great hub with some wonderful info. Voting up.

      I have a question sir; would it be in my best interest to proceed to send out query letters on self published books in hope of finding a better profit?

      Maggie and I, along with a friend whose name is Javier all united in the development of the book "Kayro's Key". I believe it has great possibilities in the right hands.

      Your thoughts?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Greg, I definitely think it would be in your best interest to do so...by all means do it!

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Such valuable information - I need to update my Writer's and Artists Yearbook. (Writer's Market) Genre is also most important when looking for publication also, no point sending a crime novel when they perhaps deal more with romantic fiction. Can't help thinking there must be so many brilliant novels out there that just don't make it.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 years ago from Brazil

      Thanks Bill,

      As always wonderful advice. I feel we always get a true picture from you and not as you say, sugar coated. It is what we need to read.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      travmaj, I think the same thing. So much talent and a lot of it falls by the wayside because of the randomness of the publishing business. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Blond, that's the only way I know how to deliver information. A reality check is better than dreamland in the writing business. Thanks for the visit my friend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      It's always good to read your tips, suggestions. I know you help so many writers. Hubpages should put you on their payroll. (:

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I would be afraid to have HP on my resume. It might hurt my chances at a real job. LOL Just kidding...you know I love it here. Thank you dear friend.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Hiya billy, I always love reading your hubs, I feel that I am getting facts and info from a real professional teacher on here, and no I am not 'soft soaping you up' as my mum would say! LOL! it all goes in my head, and I actually quote you at home! if I am having a conversation with a friend about writing I always say, well billybuc says this and that! lol! nice one!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, that is the highest compliment you could pay me. Thank you so much. I can go to bed tonight knowing I'm famous in England. LOL

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the useful tips, Bill. I often say something like this when I comment on your hubs about writing, but it's always true!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Alicia!

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Nuts and bolts are tough to chew, Bill, but at least I won't gain weight eating them! I ordered the guide to literary agents and am working on my query letter. Also am getting my books formatted to send if examples are requested.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent, Denise. Best wishes to you. I re-wrote my query letter five times before I settled on one that I was happy with.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      A query letter must be a lot of hard work but I guess it helps to get a good publisher for the book. Great guidance on how to write a good query letter, thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, I would go as far as to say the query letter is as important as the book. Thanks for visiting little old me.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very informative. I love blogging, but the thrill of having an actual, physical publication on a shelf somewhere, that is an allure I've chased for the majority of my life.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Keep chasing, Larry. I've seen some junk published, so there is hope for good writers.

    • Jlbowden profile image

      James Bowden 2 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Billy:

      Thank you for sharing some great tips, in yet another one of your self-help articles. At least I like to refer to it as a self-help article, if that's the proper verbiage I should be using?

      Very interesting and enjoyable read, as are all your articles on the topic of writing. And I am also too familiar with the old Query letter myself. It paid off though when I finally had a few of my articles on Lyme Disease published by a small research magazine, called The Readers Review.

      They were located in Burlington Iowa.

      And that was way back in 2000. Not sure if they are still around, but I did find them at the time by using the Writer's Market Digest - Great desk reference by the way!

      Again thanks for sharing Billy another awesome article which I couldn't help but give 2 thumbs up! (;

      Jim

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Jim! I appreciate your kind words....and well done getting those articles published. Perhaps more are in your future. :)

    • profile image

      Kulewriter 2 years ago

      Indeed, billybuc, the comments did flood in.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes they did, Kulewriter. Thanks again.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I think the query letter is harder to write than the book. It is sooo intimidating and there is so much riding on it; but you have, once again, provided us with wonderful tips and sage advice. Thank you!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I think it is too, Genna, and whoa to any writer who does not take it seriously. I have rewritten mine five times so far and I'm still not sure about it. :) Thank you!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      This is so useful. It's surprising how many people don't read instructions properly even though it's obvious you must comply with publishers' requests. It's shooting yourself in the foot before you start.

      There's much here that I didn't know and although some things will be different here, the principles remain the same.

      Great hub delivered with your usual mix of encouragement and reality, bill.

      Ann

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for sharing these awesome tips to improve our chances as writers, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I honestly don't think the basics are much different no matter which country we are talking about...the most important thing, as you pointed out, is to follow simple instructions. Sheez, how many times do I have to tell people this? LOL

      Thank you, Ann!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You betcha, vkwok...thank you!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      You provide useful tips here. I especially like the tip about sending your first batch, resisting the temptation to send more, then waiting for results before sending out more or knowing whether to tweak.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's the only way to do it, Flourish. There is no sense in beating a dead horse as my dad used to say. :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      For me, query letters are a necessary evil. I have done a few, and it won't ever become a hobby, but it helps the writer's clarity about the what and the why of what they write. I appreciate all your instructions here. Thanks again, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, you brought up a great point...it does help the writer's clarity. Thanks for mentioning that.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      ABout seven years ago, I submitted my first article for publication. I had no idea that a query should have gone with it, yet I got an answer from the publisher. Imagine that! Since then, I have done so much better with your words of wisdom. I can't thank you enough.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, you have no idea how gratifying it is to see where you are now...the tough road was worth the travel my friend. Thank you.

    Click to Rate This Article