Dear Publisher to Be,
Zamparo, this guy I met last night over at the Emporium, asked me to contact you if something bad happened to him. He’s dead now, back at the hotel, so I guess that qualifies as bad, and that’s why I’m sending this e-mail to you.
He said you might remember him as you two met last month at the Writers Workshop in Philadelphia and, I quote, “you were impressed with the first chapter of his manuscript, Publish or Perish.”
I’m attaching the complete manuscript to you now as he instructed me to do. Afterwards I will send a press release stating that you have it.
From then on, its fate and yours will be in your hands. Meaning that once they—the men that killed Zamparo—know, they will try their best to stop you from reading the story that would uncover them was it ever to become public. So, it seems, your best protection would be to publish it as soon as possible.
I would if I were you.
You see, Zamparo’s death will give the book free publicity. And with him being dead and all, you will be making all the profit. What is there to lose except your life? As it will be at risk if you don’t publish his manuscript.
Besides, Zamparo deserves to be heard. He was a nice guy, and he really wanted his book published even if he had to perish to make that happen.
As for me, don’t worry, I’m nobody, just a messenger that never existed but in your mind, and soon will be
For those of you who wouldn’t want to go that far to get your book published (dying is after all kind of irreversible), here is a link to the Preditors and Editors’ website where you will find expert advice on what an editor is looking for in a query: http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/pubquery.htm.
From my own experience:
The perfect query is the one that sells your book, whether it’s perfect or not is a matter of opinion.
Make your query professional, but not boring.
Make it engaging, original, AND specific to your story. To do this, you may try to:
Write the query in the voice of your character,
Start with your first paragraph,
Or ask the question(s) your book answers (this works best for non fiction).
And when you are absolutely, positively sure that your query is ready, send it to Query Shark (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/) for a critique.
Good luck and Good Writing
Carmen Ferreiro Esteban