How do you write a pitch letter to get a book printed through a literary agent? Crucial part of your submission to an agent is not your manuscript and even the synopsis. (The agent typically reads the synopsis after the letter, initially to check if the work slots into a ?publishable' category.)
The very important aspect is the masking or pitch letter. Spend extra time on this than on anything else. Get it wrong and the agent will not even learn your story.
The important thing elements of a great cover letter are, in roughly this order:
1. Why you chose that agent. Maybe s/he was really useful to you by a mutual literary friend or already represents authors who write in your genre. This reveals you've got performed your homework. By no means send out a ?Pricey Sir or Madame'-kind letter. Personalise it heavily!
2. What style or matter space your work falls into ? and how it compares with other profitable books in this area.
3. Who your work is written for, and some indication of the confirmed market which can yearn to read it. (Just a few statistics paraphrased from The E book Commerce Listing are useful right here.)
4. How exactly your work is new ? or at the least completely different, provocative or otherwise a ?must buy'. If possible, stress its worth as a present. (Few new hardback books right now are bought at full retail value, except as presents for different people.)
5. Your individual qualifications for writing this work - equivalent to your previous publications or awards in prestigious literary contests, and/or your distinctive lifetime expertise.
So for those who've crafted a novel about a dramatic try to boost sunken Roman gold from the Aegean sea, point out that you have been a maritime salvage consultant or a deep sea diver or a distinguished classical historian these previous several decades.
In case you have a testimonial from a really awesome authority, insert it. But the secretary of your writing membership won't impress.
Put all that into just one web page, round 350 phrases max. Brokers do not fortunately turn over pages.
No, no's? brokers do not need to hear about your pet cat, or your disabled little one, or the fifty years of agony you have invested in your opus magnus. Don't lay a guilt trip on them or get chummy. Maintain it professional. And ensure that your spelling, grammar, punctuation and presentation are immaculate. The letter is itself a pattern of your literary competence.
Beware of the presentation error I made with my first book in 1982. I submitted the pages to a writer, unsolicited, in a ring binder. (Miraculously, he published the book.) The trendy fad is to present the pages, looseleaf, in just a plastic slip folder or elastic band.
True, this apply is sort of mad. (The pages tumble all over the place.) But agents/publishers learned it in the days when typesetters demanded unfastened pages, and the superstition persists. Humour it.
Preserve several submissions in circulation, perhaps six at a time. Do not chase submissions. While you obtain a rejection letter, ship out another submission. After you may have approached every relevant agent without success, rest the manuscript for a year. Then massively revise it. (Its faults should now leap out at you.) And begin the method once more.
Chances are high, the college intern whose process it was to sift the company slush pile has now moved on, and their substitute might love your work. Cynical? Alas, lifelike.
The key right now of catching an agent's eye is 90% perspiration and 10% persistence. Expertise is optional. But when you've got it, put it - above all - into your covering letter!