INKWELL NEWSWATCH 
Monthly Online eZine  
News And Views For Working Writers

INdex 
 
 INside Scoop
 
 ON THE COVER
 
 INside AUTHORS
 
 COLUMNS
 IN Her Own Write
 INscribe
 Pen IN Hand
 Write On!
 INstruction
 
 WRITER'S LIFE
 Fiction
 Nonfiction
 Screen & Stage
 Poetry
 
 TOOL KIT
 Top 10 Resources
 Advice/Q&A
 Features
 Book Reviews
 Items Of INterest
 Global Offerings
 INside Services
 
 INside CHUCKLES
 Bill The Bard
 The Writer At Work
 Games & Puzzles
 
 FREEdom STUFF
 Classifieds
 Syndication
 Classic eTexts
 Free Software
 IN Banners
 
 ABOUT IN
 Who's IN
 What's IN
 Submissions
 Editorial Calendar
 Advertising
 Join IN's Team
 Contacting IN

IN Front Cover




Search

Learn To Be A Better Journalist

Buy Classic Literature Collections

Acclaimed Screenplay Writing Software

Books On How To Write Fiction

Become A Well Paid Travel Writer



Vote daily and raise our ranking!


COLUMNS
Pen IN Hand
January, 2008


Peggy Bechko

How Not To Query
Don't do it
By  Peggy Bechko

We've talked before about how to write a professional query letter – how it's you're first exposure to an agent or editor and how important it is. This time I thought I'd mention a few things you definitely should not put into those letters or do with them. There's no particular order so let's dive right in:

1. Don't ever tell them how hard you worked on your novel. That's a given, and basically who cares? The important thing is hopefully it's a good novel. Good is more important than working hard on it. In fact, I'd go so far as to say if you wrote the thing in less than a week without raising a sweat, good for you! But again, really, who cares?

2. Don't photocopy a whole bunch of your query letters, and then send them out with no personal salutation or communication within the letter. Very bad form.

3. Proof and edit your letter like a mad person. Have someone else read it. Under no circumstance have typos in the address or the first sentence. Gads that's unprofessional!

4. Don't let your letter grow to more than one page. Really, one page is enough.

5. Don't give the editor you're addressing long and involved instructions for replying to you. If you're going on vacation, they don't need to know that. Just give them your address, phone number, and email address. That information should be in your return address header anyway. If they're interested in your work, believe me you're going to hear about it.

6. Don't use a very small font or allow letters to print when your ink cartridge is running dry. Make sure your letter is crisp and very readable. Just figure every editor, agent, and other writer you meet is suffering from eyestrain. I know I am.

7. Don't waste the few words you have allowed yourself in that one page by commiserating with the recipient about how you know how busy they are and you're going to keep this short so as not to waste their precious time. You've already wasted it with that observation – and you've lost their attention. Stay on track, keep it short and professional. They'll love you for it.

8. Considering you're no doubt a newbie, if you're doing all this yourself, refrain from making claims about how wonderful your work is, how many people it appeals to, and how many copies it will sell – in the millions do doubt! Simply inform them briefly of your considered audience. If you're putting together a proposal you'll be including a marketing section and that will cover it.

9. Don't use bright coloured, cute tricks. Believe me they've seen them all and to editors and agents that kind of stuff just screams amateur! Newbie! Unprofessional!

10. Your best bet on paper is simple, clean white or ivory. Here too is not a place to get cute with colours and designs. Keep it simple and clean. Check for finger smudges too before you affix your signature and ship it out. If you're sending it somewhere that accepts email queries, the same applies. Don't color the background some interesting shade of puce or make the text a bright orange. Go for simple, elegant, and professional.

Avoid the mistakes above and you make it just that more likely you won't receive a knee-jerk rejection.

Read Peggy Bechko's excerpt from Blown To Hell
IN Icon


Author of Doubleday western novels, Harlequin romances, Fictionworks' fantasies (eBook format), Peggy Bechko has also optioned screenplays domestically and abroad, written for an animated series and for variety of other venues. She's working on a new novel and collaborating on a animated series. http://www.peggybechko.50megs.com/


Sign Up and Use Our New Forums! Voice Your Opinion! Discuss Our Content! Ask for Writing Assistance. Post Your Successes, Queries or Information Requests. Collaborate with Other Writers.

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

Pen IN Hand
IN This Issue
Cha, Cha, Cha, Changes!
Writer As Juggler
Sell That Book
Writers Write
Refined Author's Guide
Writers As Complainers
Get A Clue
How Not To Query
Blown To Hell (Excerpt)
Six Editing Hints For Writers

Support IN
Receive Free Gifts
$20.00 Voluntary Contribution
$35.00 Voluntary Contribution
$50.00 Voluntary Contribution

New Novelist Software


Effectively Manage Your List


Writers Digest 101 Site Award






Your Ad Here

Traffic Swarm For Writers


Hottest Books This Month!

Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

Poetry
The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

Pegasus
It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

Re-Verse
The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at FatherGoose.com


Our Own Banner Rotator System
Any banner seen below is either our own or one of our members.
Support the cause - click a banner.


Want Your 468x60 Banner Above? It's FREE For Newly Published Books

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."