On September 26, best-selling author Bret Nicholaus and acquisitions editor Joseph Durepos spent their Saturday morning presenting the 7 keys to writing a perfect query letter to first-time authors gathered at the Huntley Area Public Library.
In an informative, energetic, and humorous presentation, Nicholaus and Durepos explained that a query letter is written by authors to potential agents or editors to ultimately get their works published and on the market.
“This is for people serious about their writing,” said Nicholaus.
Nicholaus explained to the audience that although writing a query letter may be the single most difficult task in their whole journey, it is also the most essential. A query letter is the first step in the journey to becoming published.
“The take-off is writing the query letter, it all begins there…landing a publishing contract is the end goal,” said Nicholaus.
They shared all kinds of tips for writers to be able to present themselves professionally, yet also be able to share their individual voices and style through their letters. Writers in the audience were told to have fun with their letters and to enjoy the process.
Progressing through the presentation, Durepos reminded his audience that today they were learning how to turn an agent’s ‘no’ into a ‘yes’, and that although their letter may be perfect in every way, they may still face rejection. The important thing is to keep going and trying.
“I didn’t think of no as no, I thought of it as a pause before yes,” said Durepos.
Along with all the dos and dont’s, Durepos and Nicholaus kept their presentation interesting with references to successful authors and their query letters. Local writers were even given a chance to go over two real examples of letters and what the agent reading those letters had to say about them.
As the presentation came to a close, those in the audience who had manuscripts prepared were excited to be able to ask questions specifically related to their work. Although the program was from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Durepos and Nicholaus were glad to spend more time and discuss the works of the passionate writers who filled the cozy program room.