Writing Essentials

SAMPLE QUERY LETTER


Dear [Agent Name],
HOOK:  Begin with a tantalizing sentence which describes your main character, what he/she wants, and what stands in his/her way.  Determine what is at stakes if he/she does not achieve the goal. 
BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Give the title, theme, word count, audience.
BIO: Give your writing credits.  Add if you've published a book or received a college degree that pertains to writing.  
CLOSE:  Thank you for your time and consideration. You can add: As per your submission guidelines, I have attached the first five pages of my novel. Upon your request, I would be more than happy to send you the full manuscript. Please note that this is a simultaneous submission.
Sincerely, 
Name 
Email
Website


LITERARY WORD COUNTS

ADULT NOVELS: COMMERCIAL & LITERARY
Between 80,000 and 89,999 words is a good range you should be aiming for. This is a 100% safe range for literary, mainstream, women’s, romance, mystery, suspense, thriller and horror. 

In short:
80,000 – 89,999:       Totally cool
90,000 – 99,999:       Generally safe
70,000 – 79,999:       Might be too short; probably all right
100,000 – 109,999:    Might be too long; probably all right
Below 70,000:           Too short
110,000 or above       Too long

SCI-FI AND FANTASY
Science fiction and fantasy are the big exceptions because these categories tend to run long. It has to do with all the descriptions and world-building in the writing.  With these genres, aim for 100,000 – 115,000 words.  

MIDDLE GRADE
Middle grade is from 20,000 – 55,000, depending on the subject matter and age range, and the word count of these books has been trending up in recent years. When writing a longer book that is aimed at 12-year-olds (and could maybe be considered “tween”), using the term “upper middle grade” is advisable. With upper middle grade, you can aim for 40,000 – 55,000 words. These are books that resemble young adult in matter and storytelling, but still tend to stick to MG themes. 

YOUNG ADULT
Perhaps more than any other, YA is the one category where word count is very flexible.  For starters, 55,000 – 79,999 is a great range. 

PICTURE BOOKS
The standard is text for 32 pages.  Publishers want manuscripts that run between 500-600 words.

WESTERNS
These can be anywhere from 50K to 80K, with an average of 65,000 words.

MEMOIR
Memoir is the same as a novel, about 80,000-89,999 words



PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS


Book Reviews Galore:  http://bookreviewsgalore.com/


HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK 


Tips from Barbara Ann Mojica and Christine Calabreese 


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