Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Alone time with my magazines & Query Letters

by Brittany Geragotelis

photo credit: SHAPE magazine
I hope you all had great Labor Day weekends and really enjoyed the beautiful weather while it's still around (I have a feeling fall weather and sweaters and boots are right around the corner). I, for one, had a fabulous time. Matt and I headed to Maryland to spend the weekend with the 'rents. With the exception of Saturday, when everyone in the Gielen household had work to do, the rest of the weekend was pretty relaxing. After I finished writing our cover story for AC, I was really able to turn all of my attention to the magazines I've neglected over the past few months. Glamour, Self, Shape, Cosmo—Oh, my! Sunday I had a truly devine day. I slept until noon (which I rarely do anymore), went to the mall and shopped for a b-day present for a friend of mine while Matty and his brother went to see The American (I had no interest in the flick, and from what I hear, I made the right choice). Then, after a leisurely stroll around the mall (Man I miss those....the one thing NYC doesn't have...), I went next door to Chicago UNO, sat at a table outside and ordered myself a gluten-free pepperoni pizza and an Arnold Palmer (YUM!). And then I sat there and read my magazines. It was PERFECTION!

And the rest of my weekend was just like that. I ate good food, relaxed in the sun, read my magazines, hung out with awesome people, and played a super-fun board game (Loaded Questions. You've gotta check it out!). I couldn't have asked for a better weekend.

And amidst all the lounging and reading and eating, etc, I still somehow managed to squeeze in some research on agents. Yep, that's right. I'm officially starting to send out queries on Wednesday. So far, I've got a list of about 9 agents ready to go. And getting all of that together took me a good four hours or so. For those of you who aren't familiar with the querying process....it's actually a lot more difficult and time-consuming than you'd think. A query letter is sort of like a cover letter for a resume. You start off with a one to two sentence hook and then a brief book pitch (1-2 paragraphs max) and then a bio including any past publishing experience.

photo credit: New World Library
But that's just the beginning. Then you have to find the right agents to query (either by doing research online or using a guide like Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents), which means you have to research who handles your genre and more specifically the type of books they usually rep. After that, you have to find out what each agent's submission guidelines are. This can range from a query letter to sample pages to select chapters to summaries. And everyone wants something a little different.

So, as you can tell...the whole thing can take some time to get together....Luckily, I made good headway this weekend and am fully prepared to get started on Wednesday!

Wish me luck and of course, I'll let you know how it goes!



Anonymous said...

Much luck, sweetsie!!!

Say said...

Sounds like my dream weekend. Having a 2 year old I hardly ever get to read mags or sit alone and eat pizza with out having to share bites......

Michelle said...

Good luck!

Oh geez, I just carpet bomb agents. Which probably isn't the smartest thing. I carpet bomb them according to their preferences, though, and requirements.

Can't wait to hear the good news though - that you get that agent. :)