One of the features we’ve planned for the Sub It Club blog is…
Sub It Success!
It’s helpful to read query letters that worked, so we’ll be asking writers to share their query letters that led to them to success. What is success? For the purpose of this Sub It Success blog series it’s a query that garnered requests, helped an author obtain representation, or of course, led to a book sale. Since I’ll be asking others to share I thought it would be only fair if I started by sharing myself.
The sale of my picture book, BEDTIME MONSTER, to Raven Tree Press started with a short query letter:
Dear Ms. Jeffers:
What kid wants to go to bed? Paul doesn’t. When it’s time for bed he turns into a real monster. But his parents understand, Dad used to be a little monster too–and he has the tail to prove it.
My picture book manuscript, Bedtime Monster, is an over-the-top story of a common occurrence–the bedtime tantrum. When Paul doesn’t want to go to bed, his feelings become so monstrous that he physically changes into a monster. Paul’s metamorphosis provides ample opportunity for artistic interpretation.
My chapter reader, Chocolate! A Library Adventure, is scheduled to be released this fall from Country Messenger Press. I am a librarian and member of SCBWI.
You will find Bedtime Monster attached. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Are there things I would change about this letter now? Well, I do see an unnecessary “that” in there.
Things I did right? I used the editor’s name. I came up with a short, catchy hook. I used the credits I had at the time to create a short bio.
I can’t remember how long it took me to write this letter but I do know that I wrote it, let it sit, and edited it until I felt it was ready to go. I also did my publisher research. I started by sending to three publishers, and waited patiently. I got two requests, and made one sale. Now, I want to say that this is probably unusual. Many, many great books are submitted many, many more times than that before they find a home. So keep calm and query on!
Just a little FYI for those of you who haven’t sold a book yet; waiting to hear back on your query letter is only the beginning. My patience was tested through a long acquisitions process. Illustration not once, but twice. And the subsequent pushing forward of my publication date…a few times.
The best thing you can do? Keep on writing, even after you find subbing success!