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What is the Difference Between Book Pitch and Query Letter?

Updated: Sep 29, 2021

When you begin work or a profession, there is a great deal to learn. There are particular skills and terminology associated with that profession, and if you are unfamiliar with them, you might find yourself in serious difficulty.

Sometimes you get training for a new career, while other times, you are just thrown in and expected to learn on the job.

Any profession requires knowledge of the proper tools to employ. Utilizing the appropriate tools enables you to do the task in the most efficient manner possible.

When it comes to writing, words are your tools. You must utilize the appropriate ones to convey the appropriate tone, style, and comprehension to the customer or reader.

Authors must utilize proper language, particularly while pursuing projects or being published.

There is much misunderstanding about whether to pitch, inquire, or submit and if you use the incorrect one, the receiver may disregard your request.

Does it seem harsh?

Consider this.

Every day, agents, editors, and publishers get hundreds, if not thousands, of emails, which they may or may not sift through with the assistance of assistants. They can only focus their attention on so many, so they're going to find methods to eliminate the ones they don't have to deal with.

If you use incorrect language, you may convey to the individual that you are inexperienced and have no idea what you're doing.

Using the wrong word may also be seen as an indication that you are unprofessional or too lazy to ensure that your email was properly structured or included the necessary information.

If you're inexperienced, the issue is whether you'd know enough about the site or the editor to ascertain what they were looking for in a book pitch or query letter.

You might send something out blindly and hope for the best.

Book Pitch

You have an excellent concept for an article or book and are confident that it will be published. However, you've never submitted an article to them, and they are unfamiliar with you, or maybe you've written for them before but are not a frequent contributor.

You must submit a pitch.

A pitch is a brief one-page email that introduces you (or reminds the editor who you are,) discusses the article you wish to write and why you are the best person to write it, includes a very brief bio, the deadline for completion of the piece, and a one-line sign-off.

That is the pitch in its simplest form, and it should not exceed two-three paragraphs in length.

Now, if you're proposing a lengthier, more research, or more in-depth article and the rules specifically require it, you may provide a little more information — but avoid giving away the whole story in your pitch.

Specific sites need you to provide a sample draft of your article to ensure that your writing is a good match for their site or venue. Copy and paste your work into the email's body and attach a copy if this is the case.

Query Letter

You've completed the writing and editing of your book. You're proud of your work and have chosen against self-publishing in favor of a more conventional approach.

You'd prefer to work with a literary agent or directly with a publisher. Your first step should be to write a query letter.

What is an effective query?

A query is just one page, but that one page must be able to captivate, excite, and make the target audience intrigued with your tale (at least a little) – all in less than 300 words.

Ascertain that you've conducted sufficient research and understand what the individual you're contacting is searching for.

Determine the particular recipient of your inquiry (this also applies to pitches) and attempt to personalize it in some manner. Whomsoever it may concern is not going to get you any points, and neither is no greeting.

The email's body begins with a hook that highlights the story. You want it to be unexpected, one-of-a-kind, and startling.

Include the genre/category, word count, and book title. The next section of your inquiry should include a brief bio. Incorporate a link to one or two of your most remarkable bylines, but avoid listing your whole body of work.

Certain literary agents and publishers may need you to provide a sample of your work. Adhere to their request to the letter – if they want ten pages, do not give them the whole document. They may not require sample pages with your inquiry but will gladly accept them if they are interested in reading more.

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