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A Book Should Stand on its Own

Sometimes you have one of those weeks where a certain type of person shows up repeatedly. One of those weeks where instead of writing a query letter, authors stubbornly refuse with a list of excuses. The most recent included someone who isn’t a business person, an author who wanted to write a book to see if they could do it, and one who believes a book should stand on its own.

Well, the author is right. A book should stand on its own. A book that stands on its own is well written, complete, edited, revised and ready to be published. But we still need to get people to read it and knowing what its about is critical to that.

Even the best actor needs a supporting cast to stand on their own in a movie. They still need a great supporting cast, a movie poster and a tagline. The movie might stand on its own, but if no one knows it exists, if no one is enticed enough to spend $20 and 2 hours to see it, it will fail.

Your query letter is the first step to your supporting cast. If your book stands alone it’s the first step to your cover copy, title, cover art, and all the materials that will bring in readers.

All I need is the query to bring me to the book. From there, if the book does stand on its own I can guarantee you’ll find representation.

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One comment

  1. As I’ve said before here, job applications require a CV and a covering letter explaining experience that meets the job requirements – essentially why you are best for the role. Gaining representation is exactly the same, except the query letter is the covering letter and shows why your book deserves to be considered. I bet these people would follow the rules for applying for a job, it’s beyond me why they think differently when it comes to querying.

    Querying is tough. But I’m sure it’s those who follow the guidelines and persist that end up being published (as I’m in the trenches at the moment, I am hanging onto this, lol).

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