Tag Archives: editors

Cover Letter vs. Query Letter: What’s the Difference?

In our workshops, we get this question a lot: What’s the difference between a cover letter and a query letter? Here’s the answer.

A cover letter is one page. It is what you attach to your complete book proposal when submitting it to agents or publishers. It is 9994948-old-ribbon-typewriter-machineincluded as a teaser only, introducing the title and concept of your book, who you are, and why you are sending it to this particular agent or editor. (This shows you’ve done your homework and aren’t just blanketing Manhattan with submissions to anyone and everyone.) There is no need to go into extensive detail about your book in the cover letter; your goal is to simply pique enough interest for the reader to flip immediately to your impressive proposal—which you’ve crafted according to our awesome Business of Books plan.

A query letter is more fleshed out, as it stands in place of your proposal. Many agents require a query letter only, and will then request a full proposal if the concept intrigues them. So, in essence, your query is a mini-proposal, sent in advance. Think about distilling each of the key sections of your proposal—including your Intro, Competing Titles, About the Book, About the Author, and Marketing)—into a separate short paragraph. Be sure to close with the fact that you have a full proposal at the ready if (when!) they want to see more. Case in point: One of our former clients sent out three query letters via email to agents, per their guidelines, and two of them responded the next day asking to see more. This clever author had a polished, complete proposal ready to send right away, while the interest was fresh. Soon after, she signed with one of those two agents (and was published within the year).

Both the cover and the query letter should set the tone and voice of the proposal, and also highlight why your idea is strong and why you are the person to write it. Sell it!

For more helpful tips on your proposal, the submission process, and all things publishing, buy our Publishing Toolkit. It’s Jen & Kerry in a binder!



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What are the 9 elements every book proposal needs? Join our webinar to find out!

It’s time to get out of the slush pile, people. No lie: It pains us to hear about a good book idea that didn’t get a fair shot because the writer simply didn’t know how to craft a winning proposal. In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s more important than ever to present yourself as a savvy author who knows the publishing biz…and the best way to do this is to write a clear, thorough proposal. This document is your calling card, and your opportunity to convince an agent or publisher to take a chance on you. Make sure it stands out from the piles of paper on every editor’s desk. Make sure it sings.

How? Take “Secrets of a Successful Proposal,” our most comprehensive webinar. In just 90 minutes, we’ll walk you through the nine essential elements every proposal should have, regardless of genre, and help you break it down into manageable pieces. Learn insider tips as we draw on our decades of industry experience to share the secrets of a winning proposal—and take away concrete tools to get your proposal to shine. When you’re finished, you’ll be ready to craft a winning pitch that will set you apart from the slush pile. Click here to purchase the $79 recording, which you can watch whenever you like, and review repeatedly at your leisure!

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Filed under The Business of Books with Jen & Kerry, Uncategorized, Webinar

New Online Class! What Every Publisher Wants You to Know: Selling Your Book in Today’s Marketplace

Fresh back from Book Expo America, we’ll be champing at the bit to share everything we learned from editors and agents. We have ways of making them talk…

So, on June 27, we’re kicking off our new online classes with a timely and helpful seminar for anyone at any stage of the publishing process. What Every Publisher Wants You to Know: Selling Your Book in Today’s Marketplace will help you create a proposal that’s built to address publishers’ current needs and requests.

Learn the latest of what publishers and agents are looking for…right this minute! Armed with insider intel gathered at BEA—the world’s largest publishing conference—we’ll reveal what publishers and agents say they clamoring for in the current marketplace. No matter where you are in the process or what kind of book you’re writing, learn to create an attention-grabbing proposal by giving editors and agents exactly what they want. Our 90-minute online seminar will cover:

  • The proposal components that are crucial to landing a publishing deal
  • Rookie mistakes to avoid during the submission process
  • The aspects of an author platform that matter most
  • Fine-tuning your proposal to address today’s publishing climate
  • The one thing that agents and editors want you to know

June 27, 7-8:30pm PT | Click here to register!


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Filed under 2012 Calendar of Events, Publishing News