Article Writing, Blog Writing, Content Writing, Freelance Writing & Prediction
Building A Rock
Solid Query Letter
Recently I reviewed a client's query letter. It was a hard working query letter, detailing the marketing prospects for the book, her own glowing credentials and the contacts she possessed that would help her publicize the book. But she left out one teeny weeny thing: she didn't say what her book was about! I used to think query letters were relatively easy, but now I realize that a query has to do so many things that it's easy to forget essential elements. Since the letter is...
Recently I reviewed a client's query letter. It was a hard working query letter, detailing the marketing prospects for the book, her own glowing credentials and the contacts she possessed that would help her publicize the book. But she left out one teeny weeny thing: she didn't say what her book was about! I used to think query letters were relatively easy, but now I realize that a query has to do so many things that it's easy to forget essential elements. Since the letter is your first step in putting your book's best foot forward, you don't want that to happen. So here's a simple rundown on what goes into a solid query letter.
Who Are You?
It's tempting to start the letter by leaping into a breathless description of what you're sure is going to be the best book in the world, but resist a little longer. You want to use your first paragraph to introduce yourself and let the agent know why he or she should pay attention to you. Tell the agent who you are. Describe your qualifications, including a bit about your current activities which will in turn describe your platform. Have you been doing speaking engagements? Do you appear on television? Are you noted in your profession? Have you won any awards? Do people look to you as an expert in your subject? Do you teach? For instance, if you are a workshop or seminar leader in real estate finance, frequently travel across the country, and have 5,000 people attending your workshops every month, you can tell the agent:"Now I’ve decided to give away all of my secrets in a book about real estate financing with no money down." Anything that puts you in front of people is a potential place to sell your book so don't forget to mention such activities.
What's Your Book About?
In the next two or three paragraphs of the letter you get to talk about your wonderful book idea and/or story. As a guideline, it may help you to read the backs of book covers. You'll want to do something similar--a brief synopsis of your book with enough spark it will intrigue the agent or any other pot
ential reader, to pick up your book. Use bullet points to highlight what amazing tidbits the reader will get out of the book. Will they get five strategies on how to eat without gaining weight? Or 4 low cost resources for financing a large home improvement project? Or the 6 surefire signs you've found your life purpose? Make this description tight, concise and, of course, hugely interesting. Then you can move on to...
Your Great Marketing Plan--With You As the Star
The query letter should include a brief paragraph or two about how you're going to market the book. Of course, if you go with a traditional publisher you'll get major help in this area from the publishing house. But remember this: no one will be a better advocate for your book than you. And when editors are considering manuscripts they're also considering what kind of a marketing presence they'll be getting with the author. You'll make their job easier--and your book much more successful--if you can bring your own marketing plan to the table to work hand in hand with the publisher's. Do you have contacts in the media willing to help? Are you good at getting quoted in newspapers and magazines? Do you publish freelance articles that can mention your upcoming book? Put a lot of thought into this. Too many writers go into the publishing process expecting everything to be done for them and then are disappointed. Having a good marketing plan would show a potential agent that you're serious and you understand the business.
The Next Step
You’ve mentioned your credentials, described your book and your stellar marketing plan. Ideally, at this point, you have the agent intrigued. You want him or her to say, "Great! What does this person have to offer?" This is where your letter would say something like, "I would love for you to see more and I have a proposal" or "I have 50 pages of a manuscript." Whatever you want the agent to see next, offer it up and ask, "May I send this to you?" Asking permission is always a classy thing to do, it shows you're not being presumptuous. Then you move into a closing that let's the agent know you'll follow up in a certain amount of time either via phone or email (they might prefer email).
When you're done, read your query letter over many times. Have another trusted set of eyes read it for you. It's easy to overlook important points, or to think you've covered something when you really haven't. When you can polish no longer, send it out--many times! And congratulations. You've just made the first step in getting yourself and your book out there. I wish you a successful journey.
© 2006 Sophfronia Scott
- Modern Legend
Daido Moriyama and his impact on Japanese photography. His humble beginnings in Osake have helped him become one of Japans best photographers and artists.
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Although Moriyama's work is well known in Nippon where he is one of the country's major photographers, his photography has only been sporadically and incompletely exhibited outside Japan, and it has not received the full critical congratulation it so richly deserves.
Born in the port city of Osaka in 1938, Moriyama turned to photography at the age of twenty-one and moved to Tokyo to work with the eminent photographer Eikoh Hosoe. Early in his career, Moriyama became acquainted with the work of both William Klein and Andy Warhol. He appreciated their new vision and transformed it through his own personal perspective. The energy and dynamic modernity Moriyama found in the emotional, even hostile pictures Klein made of his native New York delighted the young Japanese photographer, as did the perception of a voyeuristic media culture in Warhol's work.
Moriyama's pictures are taken in the streets of Japan's major cities. Made with a small, hand-held camera, they reveal the speed with which they were snapped. Often the frame is deliberately not straight, the grain pronounced, and the contrast emphasized. Among his city images are those shot in poorly lit bars, strip clubs, on the streets or in alleyways, with the movement of the subject creating a blurred suggestion of a form rather than a distinct figure.
Moriyama's style was also part of this intense period in Japanese art. Much of the work produced in Japan in theater, film, literature, art, and photography appears radical today as it represented a clear disjunction from the past. Japanese artistic production of the 1960s and 1970s was deeply affected by the American occupation and its conflicting messages of democracy and control, of peaceful coexistence, and of the strong American presence in Asia during the Vietnam War.
Radical artists, including Moriyama, sought a firm break with the highly regulated Japanese society that was responsible for the war, as well as an affirmation of the vitality of a pre-modern culture that was specifically Japanese. Thus, the pictures Moriyama took of the American Navy base Yokosuka -- reflecting the freedom he saw there -- and the stray dog near the Air Force base at Misawa acknowledge both the exhiliarating newness of the modern experience and its rawness.
In the early 1980s, his work moved away from the ambiguity and graininess of his earlier photographs toward a bleaker, more distinct vision, as evidenced in the Light and Shadow series.Moriyama stretches the boundaries of photography and peers into the dark and blurry places that scare us. Moriyama delivers great gritty black and white photos examining post WWII Japanese Culture.
His most known picture, Stray Dog, (1971) is clearly taken on the run, in the midst of bustling, lively street activity. The representation of the alert, wandering, solitary, but ultimately mysterious animal, is a powerful expression of the vital outsider. It is an essential reflection of Moriyama's presence as an alert outsider in his own culture.
Don’t Be Afraid
of Your Topic…
It is difficult to say what is better: to work on the assigned topic or to hesitate which to choose? It depends. We are sure you will determine which variant suits you best. Our aim is to provide you with information that will facilitate your writing procedure.
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