martedì 7 maggio 2013

How to Write a Query Letter

In Europa pare non ci sia proprio bisogno di un agente letterario. Durante i miei raid in fiera di Bologna invece non sono mai riuscito a parlare con un editore inglese o americano, quindi almeno per questi mercati forse vale la pena cercarselo.
Parto così dalla lista di agenzie pubblicata da Giulia Sagramola nel forum de Le figure dei libri, preparo il mio bel modello di mail (da ritoccare leggermente per ogni editore) e mi do da fare con il copia e incolla. Arrivato alla pagina artist_submission di Magnet Reps leggo: "emails or packages received without a request for representation will not be reviewed". Mi viene il dubbio che il mio "I look forward to the possibility of working together" non sia sufficiente come richiesta di rappresentanza. Comincio a girare per blog e a raccogliere consigli su come scrivere una query letter efficace. Ce n'è un mare, pare che ogni agente abbia scritto il proprio decalogo. Ricomincio a copiare e incollare, questa volta dal web al mio documento di testo, dò una sfoltita e una riordinata et voilà: How to Write a Query Letter.doc


First: I have no patience for people who can’t believe in themselves or their books.

Second: I can tell the difference between a typo and knowledge of the English language.
In both cases: instant reject.
Always, always address your email query to somebody... even if it's the intern's name. But don't query Jacky, Kim, and me simultaneously. I delete, figuring one of the others will answer.
I don’t bother reading the attachments unless they’re requested.
Your limit is 250 words. No paragraph indentations, but a space between each paragraph. If you are attaching the query letter instead of cutting and pasting it into the email you’re wasting my time.
Do mention exactly why you’re approaching Ms. Agent. Or, at the very least, let her know that you've done some research, looked at her website... Example: i am seeking representation for my picture book [title].
If you mention a previously published book in the query letter I need 1) the publisher and 2) the year. Otherwise I'll just assume it was published by a small press sometime in the 1850s, and you don't want me to assume that.
Query your projects one at a time. Do you have an idea and want to know whether or not it’s viable before wasting your time writing? I don't want to talk to you, I want to read your work.
Matching your query's tone to the tone of your book sounds like a "risk," because everyone will tell you to keep it professional. But we're talking about proving to an agent that you really understand your book's genre, and ultimately, its marketability. Got a suspenseful thriller with a hard-boiled edge? Then, why does your query letter sound like a business letter? 


Dear [Agent name],
I chose to submit to you because of your wonderful taste in [genre], and because you [personalized tidbit about agent].
[protagonist name] is a [description of protagonist] living in [setting]. But when [complicating incident], [protagonist name] must [protagonist's quest] and [verb] [villain] in order to [protagonist's goal].
[title] is a [word count] work of [genre]. I am the author of [author's credits (optional)], and this is my first children book.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Best wishes,
[your name]

p.s. molte fonti le ritrovate in