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Friday, June 27, 2014

Query Letter Booboos Straight from the Lips of Literary Agents

It's been a while since I popped in. I am reformatting the second edition of the  The Frugal Editor from e-book formatting to paper and ran across this paragraph. I really like it and thought you would, too.  The topic here is the editing of your query letters, but most of the information could apply to any writing you do.


Stay away from words based in Latin with lots of syllables. It isn’t only the long ones that can make you sound as if you have no personality, never took a writing class, or are not a publishing professional. So your book is titled, not entitled. You live somewhere, you don’t reside. You buy a book when you’re talking to your neighbor. Why suddenly flaunt the word purchase? In a TV interview, Meg Ryan was asked what word she loved. She screwed up her face as only she knows how and turned the question around. She said she hated the word enjoy. “What’s wrong with liked or loved?” she said. Who would have guessed? This anecdote shows that we can’t avoid everything that makes every editor (or actor) peevish, but we can try.


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  Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at www.howtodoitfrugally.com/writers_books.htm , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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Your First Marketing Offense: Write and Edit Great Query Letters