This is a Towel: Queries and Agents
Anonymous asked: I’d like to know the specifics of what goes into a query letter, and if that should be the very first thing I send to an agency? Thank you.
For your pleasure, a smorgasbord of links on the wide world of queries and agents! But first, what are these things?
Query letter (n): a single page cover letter, introducing you and your book.
Agent (n): a professional who represents writers and their written works to publishers and assists in the sale and deal negotiation of the work.
It is important to understand both queries and agents if you’re interested in publishing your material. Queries are indeed how you first reach out to agents, and here are a bunch of things to consider in the process.
- You’ve Finished Your Manuscript! Now What?
- Anatomy of a Query Letter
- How to Write a Query Letter
- The Publishing Biz
- Query Letters: Ten Way to Hook a Literary Agent
- Seven Things You Shouldn’t Say in a Query Letter
- E-Queries: How to Submit Online to Agents and Editors
- Literary Agents: Good or Evil? (Either Way, You Need One)
- The Ten Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Query Letter
- How to Research the Best Literary Agents for Your Book
That’s a start, at least. Like all things in writing, querying agents involves a lot of research and a lot of revision, but if you’ve made it through a whole novel, you’re probably up for that task. Or, as Pat Walsh put it in his book 78 Reasons Why Your Book Will Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might:
The single biggest reason good writers with good books have trouble finding an agent is they submit queries and samples before they are ready. The elation of typing “The End” seems to inspire writers to slap on a cover letter and hit the post office, not wanting to wait another moment to begin their careers. It’s the wrong thing to do, and premature submissions can have long-lasting ill effects.
Thanks for the question; if there’s anything you want to know about writing, send us a message!
Unfortunately, This Piece Is Not for Us: Handling Rejection
Rejection is a thing that happens to writers who seek publication. Getting a story rejected is a sad thing. It hurts. Rejection is universal, but that fact does not make the feeling suck any less. Because you have already been rejected or will be rejected at some point in the future, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding the word “no.”
“Until the mid-nineteenth century, most authors published their books at their own expense—Walt Whitman, for example, self-published (and typeset!) Leaves of Grass. Self-publishing could change from stigma to bragging point—maybe we could change the term to “artisanal publishing” and foster the image of authors lovingly crafting their books with total control over the process. What would you rather read: a mass-produced or artisanal book?" ”—Guy Kawasaki, in his book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur
“Amazon, Google and all of those things probably aren't the enemy. The enemy right now is simply refusing to understand that the world is changing.”—
Neil Gaiman on the future of publishing in London Book Fair 2013: In Keynote, Gaiman Says ‘Try Everything’
He also said, “I suspect that one of the things we should be doing is making books that are prettier, finer, and better. We should be fetishizing objects, and giving people a reason to buy objects, and not just content, if we want to sell them objects.”
Winter Tangerine Review
Hi guys! My name is Yasmin as most of you know, and I’m starting a literary journal! It’s called Winter Tangerine Review (You should all follow us on Tumblr, by the way!) and I am editor-in-chief. My staff and I are working on a literary magazine/journal dedicated to the very best art, poetry and prose. We like the inventive, the original, the experimental. We don’t care who you are, where you’re from or how you got to us; we want your artistry, we want your emotions, we want you to make us feel. We don’t care what you write, or what type of art you create, as long as it’s raw. We only publish the very best, and we need our staff to have those kinds of expectations as well.
We plan to publish six times a year, three times in print, and three times online. We’re going to need Poetry Editors and Prose Editors and, especially, Art Editors, as well as a group of dedicated readers. The editors are responsible for picking out the pieces that are published in each magazine. We need self-motivated writers/artists with an eye for talent, and hopefully, some writing/artistic experience of their own. The readers are expected to look over submissions, offer opinions and discuss the work, then send the very best to the editors. We publish every other month so while we’re going to need a dedicated staff, the workload should be stretched throughout the months. Each term as reader will be for a minimum two months (or one issue), and can last as long as you’re willing to work for. The terms for editors are a minimum six months (or three issues) but we want our editors to be as permanent as possible.
To be considered for a position, please send a short bio with your name, age, the state/country that you reside in, work experience with literary magazines (it’s totally okay if you don’t have any!), your interest in writing/art, what position you’re applying for, and why you think you’d be a good fit for the position you’d like. If possible, send a resume, writing/art portfolio and letter of recommendation. The deadline for applications is March 27th. Late applications will not be considered for the first round of editors/readers. You can forward your application to email@example.com. I’ll get back to everyone within a week of your email! Thanks again! I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
What jobs can English majors get?
What jobs can you get with an English or communications degree? I’d like these jobs to let me be a bit imaginative/creative. Sorry if this isn’t really writing related. I can’t picture a better job than being a writer, but I know I should have a back up plan.
Did you read our most recent post about being an English Major? I think the last couple of paragraphs might be helpful to you.
I was also thinking it’d be really cool if followers who graduated from college with an English degree could share their current professions. You can either put it in a comment on this post or send us an ask.
I’ll go first! I’m a marketing coordinator for an investment bank, haha.
With regard to English Major jobs — I have arguably an even less useful degree, a BFA (Bachelor of F—- All) in Creative Writing. I’m a writer and narrative designer on two video games, and starting my own company to create interactive/transmedia stories and develop my own story world franchise. (In other words, there’s nothing stopping you from achieving your dreams. I’m 24.)
I graduated in 2010 with a degree in English and I am an Associate Producer for a Documentary Company in Boston, Northern Light Productions.I get to do all my favorite things, read, write, research, learn and work with wonderful people.
In response to the question what English majors have as current professions, I am a TEFL teacher in South Korea at an all girl’s middle school. It’s really great!
I have a BA in Political Science and English (Creative Writing) and am now in law school! We do a lot of writing and a major part of a trial lawyer’s job is getting the narrative across. Similarly, many types of lawyers must tell their client’s stories and act as their legal voices. I’ve also been able to help people already in my first year and met lots of interesting people!
This post will be indexed on our Advice page, under the heading “The Writer’s Life”.
“I picture novelists of the future as the literary equivalent of home brewers, coming up with small batches of craft brews geared toward a specific taste. The challenge for a novelist lies in connecting our work with those readers who have an appetite for it. I'm starting to catch on to the importance of building that base through an online presence. It's an enormous joke on us writers: Collectively, we're an almost comically introverted bunch; yet in order to find readers, we're compelled to morph into crack marketers and self-promoters." (Bettina Lanyi, "the aspiring novelist") "When I was looking for an agent, all I really wanted was someone to save me from all the marketing and logistical hassles of producing and selling a book. I just wanted to be the shy writer and let everyone else take care of me. Today, I am actually grateful I didn’t find one." (Cerece Rennie Murphy, "the self-published author") "I never anticipated that, when I became a professional writer, I’d also become a marketing strategist, publicist and entrepreneur. But in order to keep being a professional writer, I need to show my publisher how hard I’m willing to work. And I need to connect with my readers in as many creative, absurd and unexpected ways as possible." (Jennifer Miller, "the novelist-entrepreneur") ”—
Over at The Washington Post, various members of the book publishing ecosystem weigh in on its evolution, with a common thread of the tension between writers’ inherent introversion and the extroversion a social media presence demands.