Query Letter Resources

Whether approaching an agent or a publisher, you will need to draft a query letter. The query letter is a one-page cover letter that introduces you and your book. Query letters usually follow this format:

  • First Paragraph: Hook (includes the name of the book, the genre, word count, and the tagline for the book)
  • Second Paragraph: A one-paragraph synopsis (think of the book cover copy)
  • Third Paragraph: Publishing Credits (avoid any irrelevant bio information)
  • Formal closing

Some agents like to know why you selected them. Only include this if you have a very personal or compelling reason. Also, the main focus of your query letter is the book itself, not you the writer. This does not mean the publisher or agent is not interested in you the writer, or in your platform- building activities (which are extremely important). But the reality is that publishers buy books, not writers, and they must be interested in the book first. Once they are interested in the book, then you have to sell them on why you are the best person to write it.

Authority Based Marketing

More than ever, media messages and advertising are clogging consumers’ radios, television sets, mailboxes, newspaper and magazine pages, and computer screens. This white paper explores how to cut through the clutter by employing authority-based marketing.

We have entered the information age, and with it comes information overload. More and more often, people are inundated with sales calls, spam mail, and other marketing materials cluttering their mailboxes, email accounts, and televisions. People are tired, and they’re turning off.

Traditional marketing is dead. Direct mail ends up in the trash, emails are deleted immediately, and television marketing is too expensive. So how can a professional or business break through the clutter and connect with potential clients?

What Publishers Want

This guide serves as a tool to familiarize aspiring authors with the key elements publishers look for when evaluating a potential project.

If you have already written a book, or even if you are just considering writing one, you may have asked yourself what it is that publishers look for.

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula a writer can follow for guaranteed publication. What works and doesn’t work varies by genre, publisher, and other factors outside of the writer’s control. Still, there are some basic elements every publisher considers when evaluating a potential project. Those elements are: content, market, competitive titles, and author platform.

How to Publish a Book

Most professionals know that a book is a key element to building a reputation as an expert, but what they don’t know is how to write and publish a book. This guide explores the elements of a book proposal, ghost writing, other editorial services, understanding your publishing options, and how to determine which option is best for you.

A book is by far the best and most effective way for an expert to share his or her knowledge with others. A book is a resource, an uninterrupted communication tool, and an effective way to sell the expert as a superior thought leader in his or her field. A book is also a jumping off point from which to create other ancillary materials such as workbooks, audio, eBooks, and other items that enhance a professional’s career. Unfortunately, actually publishing and distributing a book is a daunting task and many professionals don’t know where to start.

Registering Copyrights For Your Book

Of all the complicated and tedious stages of the book compliance process, copyright registration may be the most confusing. Between deciphering weird terminology like “claimant” and “limitations of claim,” establishing reasonable timelines, and dealing with legal intricacies, registering copyright claims can be mentally exhausting.

Fortunately, the Greenleaf staff is very familiar with the copyright process and can break down the basics. Below is a quick but fairly thorough look at the process.

Book Compliance Decoded

Compliance is an essential part of the book publishing process, yet it is often very difficult to navigate the details of each step along the way. When done correctly, the proper registration of a book maximizes search ability, but all the weird lingo and tedious applications can be daunting. While the compliance process is unnecessary to memorize in its entirety, here is a general overview of how it works.

First and foremost, an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) must be purchased for and assigned to the title. This number is the book equivalent of a Social Security number, and it can be purchased through MyIdentifiers in a block of ten, which is recommended—each binding will require its own ISBN. Once these have been purchased, they are ready to be assigned to an individual title via BowkerLink. This step officially links a specific ISBN to a single title. While performing this step, attention to detail is a must! You don’t want a slip of the finger to delay the setup process. Although the assignment is still technically pending at this point, it is usually safe to begin associating this ISBN with your title.

Understanding Foreign Rights

What do Harry Potter and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo have in common other than movie deals? Well, not a lot, but their publishers and authors do both know how to take advantage of foreign book sales, a growing sector of the publishing industry where the right book and the right deal can provide a nice padding of revenue for authors and publishers.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series managed to get translated into around 70 languages, doing particularly well in the United States, where publishers obtained rights to the series and watched it top bestseller lists for months. Because of its international status, the final book in the series,Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, broke records when it sold 11 million copies in the first 24 hours after its release.

Industry Links

Independent Book Publishers Association A not-for-profit membership organization serving and leading the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success.

Digital Book World Daily A website offering educational and networking resources for consumer publishing professionals and their partners including agents, booksellers and technology vendors.

Publishing Perspectives An International look at the publishing industry offering opinion, trends, news, and events.

Galley Cat Blog with daily features on what’s happening in publishing, guest posts from authors, tips on writing, and features on breakthrough authors.

Writers Digest The international news source of book publishing and book selling; PW reviews of books are displayed on Amazon, so can be important

Shelf Awareness A daily newsletter about the book trade from the booksellers’ perspective.

Book Industry Study Group The creator of the official genres that most organizations in the publishing industry use.

Bowker The organization that manages, sells, and oversees ISBNs in the United States; also publishes reports on book consumer demographics and buying behaviors.

Writer’s League of Texas A non-profit association of Texas writers offering networking, education, resources, conferences, and information on writing and publishing

Publisher’s Weekly The international news source of book publishing and book selling.