Query letters and pitches

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Although this book is mostly about the books themselves, pitching them is part of the publishing process, whether you're pitching to agents or writing blurbs for readers. I've compiled some common mistakes I see people make in their query letters and pitches.

1. Too many details
Any type of pitch means you're trying to pique someone's interest. Before the agent/reader/editor is invested, they don't care about creative names, and they don't need to know about every subplot.

2. Treating the query letter like a synopsis
In query letters, blurbs, and pitches, do NOT give away the ending! Mention huge twists, but don't tell us how everything ends. Leave us with a few questions so we can ask for more.

3. Too much backstory
There's a reason the story is taking place at this stage in the character's life rather than earlier. While the MC's story DOES matter, your focus needs to be on what actually happens in the book.

4. Lack of stakes
So we know the character's goal (and if we don't, go back and make it the focus). What if they don't achieve it? What are the consequences? Give us a (strong) reason to care about it.
It's okay to follow standard formats for stakes.
"MC must either ___ or ___."
"If MC doesn't ____ (in time), then _____."

5. The author bio is way too long
The point of a bio in a query letter isn't to pitch yourself; it's to let the person reading it know a LITTLE about you.
Focus on the story, and just tell them your relevant experience (with honesty, of course).

6. Typos and grammatical errors
Proofread your query letters and get (at least) a second opinion! If you're like me, you obsess over query letters and pitches; you're bound to start missing things, especially as words get moved around.

7. Poor comparisons
While you want to market your book, you MUST be careful doing so. Your book isn't "the next Harry Potter" (I see this pretty often), and it's probably not "unlike any other book."
Don't trash other authors or books, and choose appropriate comps.

Note: If you found this helpful, you might like my upcoming book "I Can't Believe I Wrote That: A Self-Editing Guide," which you can add in Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43513578-i-can-t-believe-i-wrote-that

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