Yeah, it’s Tuesday and not Monday. There’s so many levels of chaos still at play in my life that I’m picking and choosing my battles in some ways. It should be calmer soon, I hope, and I’ll be back on track.
There’s something I want to touch on today. It’s important, and a lot of authors today don’t realize it. And that’s making a good first impression with a potential agent or publisher.
No, this isn’t an old topic I’m simply recycling. It’s important. That first impression really does matter!
In my position with Solstice, I sometimes get random emails from authors wanting to know more about our House. Love to read those, to be honest! It gives me a chance to encourage the next generation of writers to gather their courage and hit send on that email! Every now and then, though, the email makes me cringe.
When you can’t be bothered to write a proper salutation…or you decide to insert text speech or don’t correct a misspelled word…it makes the publishing executive in me cringe. Why? Because I hold out little hope for your manuscript if you can’t be bothered to spell out ‘you’.
This business is built on words. The proper usage can evoke images of beauty and horror. There is immense power in a broad vocabulary. By using shortcuts, you undermine that power.
It also cuts into your credibility. You want to be a writer but can’t use the correct version of their/they’re/there in a query letter? Or be bothered to actually use punctuation? 99% of the time, the EIC will decide against you before they even open your manuscript. If you can’t take the time to make sure your email message is great, we hold out little hope for the story itself.
Do yourself a favor. Don’t use your phone to email the query letter. Sit down and treat it with as much care and attention as you did your story. Reread it. Edit it. Polish it until it gleams. Then and only then send it off. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to climb a mountain with nothing more than a foot of twine.