Writing a Query Letter to a Publisher

Why do I need to write a query letter?

If you’re anything like me, this will be the first thing you say when you find out that you have to write a query letter, whether it be to an agent, or a publishing house.

The reason, I have discovered, is because they ask you to.

Simple, really.

Agents and publishers, generally, do not want you to send in your whole manuscript at once. It’s a process. You usually send a query letter with a synopsis and sample chapters, then, if requested, the rest of the manuscript.

The next thing you’ll be saying is… um, how do I write a query letter? Read more

Researching Your Work

When I was in school, Social Science was not my favourite subject. This may have had something to do with the fact that I was constantly in trouble for making my assignments too ‘story-like’.

I couldn’t help it.

I hated doing to research. It wasn’t as if I actually cared about politics or ancient Greece or whatever the teacher was going on about, so, in my mind, I couldn’t understand how it could be so wrong to make a boring assignment interesting.

I still don’t understand.

Now though, as a writer, I’ve discovered the value of research, which has helped to change my tune a little. I still don’t like research, but I understand the important role it plays.

James Patterson wrote in the Authors Note of his book, The Murder of King Tut, “‘JP Writing Style and Book Elements’ is a list of nineteen bulleted points that I keep within arm’s reach whenever I’m working. Point number eighteen is written in capital letters, because no matter how often I read it, I need to be reminded that it is of the utmost importance: Read more

Character Development

I very much enjoy a spot of Modern Jive dancing. I don’t claim to be very good, but I am certainly an enthusiast. I regularly attend dancing lessons and, every now and then, incorporate it into what very little social life I do have. Take just the other night, for instance. A good friend of mine was visiting from out of town, and we went out so that she could have a dance. Of course, having not danced in over a year, she believed she was going to have forgotten it all, but by the first dance, it was like she had never left!

I, however, nearly fell over three times. The floor was slippery, I promise!

During the course of our evening, I spotted a woman dancing by herself. I was rather impressed with her energy and courage, and what she lacked in technique she made up for with a complete disregard for the opinion of others. No matter what anyone said or thought, she continued to dance, albeit to the beat of her own drum.

I then later discovered that someone I knew was friends with this woman and when in a one on one environment, she is shy and quiet. Dancing was, obviously, her form of communication – the place she felt comfortable to express herself. Read more

How Long Should a Novel Be?

Determining a word count can be a difficult task. How many words do the publishers expect for my genre?

The answer isn’t exactly straightforward.

Word counts vary across each different genre.

Generally, for a fantasy novel, the word count is expected to be over 110,000 words.

For a novella (a small novel) the word count is between 20,000 and 50,000 words. However, keep in mind that if you’re a first time author, you might have a lot of trouble getting someone to publish a novella.

For a novel, the word count is generally from 50,000 to 110,000 words, falling in between the word count expectation of a novella and a fantasy novel. The average word count is 75,000-80,000.

Thrillers are generally required to be at least 100,000 words, however, if your thriller is 80,000 words and absolutely brilliant, it may not make a difference.

Epics novels are generally over 110,000 and if you look at some of Ken Follet’s novels, you’ll see they can range beyond double that word count. Though, again, if you’re a first time author, it is unlikely a publisher will want to work with so many words. Read more

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