What Is A Query Letter?

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query letter, book publishing consultant, erick mertz, portland oregonSo how important is a query letter for getting your manuscript published? The short answer to that question is this, if you’re seeking representation or a traditional publishing deal, your query is almost as important as your manuscript.

Most writers focus on writing energy their prose. They believe that the characters need to sparkle. The setting must jump to life straight off of the page. The situation should be both familiar and unique.

As you read this, editors, publishers and agents are on the prowl for new, high-quality material. Introducing your work to them through a good query letter is the best way to get a manuscript from your desk to theirs.

What Does A Query Letter Accomplish?

A well-crafted query draws interest not only in the story you are pitching but the writer as well. A lot of writers miss on the reality that a publishing career is built on relationships, with both your writing peers and the agents and publishers who bring your book to the world.

The polite introduction marks you as both personable and professional. The deftly written synopsis creates intrigue about your story. The author bio provides a connection, showing the bona fides that makes you a good risk of their time and money.

Without it, your book is just another one for the slush pile.

Writing a well-crafted query letter for manuscripts will not necessarily turn a no into a yes. However, I have heard time and again that a poorly written or executed query letter can definitely turn a yes into a no. The most critical mistake comes in how writers think about query letters for manuscripts. They think of it almost like an afterthought. They believe that their book should stand for itself.

While I understand where that kind of thinking comes from, here is the reality: there are a lot of books and authors out there. Every one of those authors is looking for a way to get their book onto the market and career started. The better way to think of a query letter is as a vital written pitch.

You have written the book. You’ve gotten professional editing. You should be confident. A well-crafted letter shows the editor that you possess what they’re looking for in an author and that they should commit the vast amount of energy necessary to give your submission a try.

Publishers can’t read every book that comes off across their desk. You have to give them a reason. The best advice given to me about a query letter for manuscripts said that it is as important as your novel’s first page. Fail to hook your reader, they’ll put you and your work down without a second thought. Get their interest however and you will have crossed the most critical barrier to publication.

Don’t treat your query like a secondary part of your submission process.

If you would like to read more on the topic of publishing consultant services, check out these additional articles.

How To Publish A Book On Amazon

How To Write A Query Letter

Ask A Ghostwriter – Help With Self-Publishing

The Best Self-Publishing Podcasts

Publishing Consultant For Fiction

What Goes Into Successful Fiction Books?

Is Self-Publishing On A Budget Possible?

What Type Of Editing Do I Need?

Why Now Is The Righ Time To Write A Christian Book

Book Layout and Design

Self Edit Your Novel

How To Write Historical Fiction

Free “How To Hire A Ghostwriter” eBook

hiring a ghostwriter, erick mertz, hiring an editor

I so adamantly believe that knowing how to conduct a ghostwriting interview is a bedrock of success that I wrote a book about it.

While this book doesn’t necessarily cover query letters as this blog does, it does serve as an ideal primer for developing a professional mentality to bring to your writing.

If you would like a complimentary copy of How To Hire A Ghostwriter: Your Guide To Finding The Best Pro For Your Project all you have to do is click and download.

If you have read this book, like it, and found it helpful, please share it with some of your fellow writers and take a moment to review it either on GoodReads or Amazon.

How Do I Contact You?

erick mertz writing, ghostwriting services, how to hire a ghostwriter

If you are serious about hiring a fiction editor or having your book, screenplay or non-fiction story professionally written by a ghostwriter, or you need self-publishing help, please contact me via email, or call.

Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation. Additionally, I offer all independent and self-publishing authors a 10% discount on my already affordable services.

Erick MertzWhat Is A Query Letter?
KEEP READING!

Ask A Ghostwriter – Help With Self-Publishing

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erick mertz, help with self-publishing, portland, oregon, ghostwriterIf you’re going to do it right, self-publishing will cost money. There is no way around that.

If you take a close look at the whole process though (and get help with self-publishing) it’s easy to see that getting high quality, professional-looking books to your customers is not prohibitively expensive.

Let’s break down the abstract idea of cost into specifics.

Help With Self-Publishing Non-Fiction

Recently, I worked as a ghostwriter, editor, and designer for a client’s debut business book. He brought about 60% of the book to the process. It was a collection of writing he had derived from work with his real estate partners, business coaches, colleagues, and mentors.

Although the text was strong, it needed a writer’s touch. Lucky for him, he saw that he needed help with self-publishing. I won’t delve too far into nuts and bolts details our work. Instead, I’d like to start by looking at the end results.

Just take a look at the client’s finished product. erick mertz, help with self-publishing, portland, ghostwriter, oregonThe book is handsome. The cover is polished and professional. The layout, I don’t mind saying, is top-notch. What did all of that cost my client?

Before opening the specifics, let’s look at what my client would have spent in terms of time and resources in order to conventionally publish his book. This is the example where the client does not get help with self-publishing.

1.) My client would have had to finish writing the book on his own. However knowledgable he might be about his subject, a “non-writer” encounters a steep learning curve in getting together a publishable book;

2.) Once that book was completed, he would have to hire an outside editor and proofreader;

3.) With a completed manuscript, he would have had to commit significant time to research and locating a list of agents potentially looking for his type of manuscript;

4.) After a round of queries and manuscript submissions, provided anyone was interested, he would have had to re-write the book under the agent’s specifications.

This all would have come at the expense of finding the core clients his business needs to survive. Standard publishing for my client was a bigger risk.

Instead, my client went through DIY channels. He hired me as a ghostwriter to help flesh out his ideas. Then as his manuscript editor, I transferred a more polished manuscript onto a line editor and proofreader.

Together, this team brought his book in for completion for under $5,000 in total costs.

My client isn’t going to reach a mass audience with his book. That was never really his goal though. The objective of a traditional publishing arrangement is to get a book out to the largest possible audience. Maybe he could have gotten there, but that’s not what he wanted.

Instead, he wanted a book to target potential customers. What my client wanted was a manuscript-length business card. How successful has this project been? As of last quarter, my client is the #1 seller of residential real estate in all of Northern Utah. Not bad.

Help With Self-Publishing Fiction

My recent path to publication is similar. No, I didn’t write the definitive book on how to hire a ghostwriter (at least I haven’t yet). I did, however, recently self-publish a work of fiction and I am happy to share those costs to illustrate how affordable self-publishing really can be.

Because I possess a native DIY streak of my own, I plan to self-publish my books. I want to be in control. I want to see the project all the way through to the end. Afterward, I may want an agent, who knows.

In the meantime, I have decided to build my subscriber list through a series of short, novella-length fiction to give away through my author site. The story I published, The Widow’s Tale is roughly 15,000 words, anywhere from 1/4th to 1/6th the length of a “normal” novel.

Be aware though, the breakdown of cost I am giving you is proportionately smaller. Contractors work on word count, so if you have a smaller book, you’ll pay less.

Developmental editing: $212.00

Line editing/proofreading: $250.00

Cover design: $299.00

There is no accounting for the cost in terms of hours or money associated with the time it takes to actually write the book, but in the terms of contracted services, $761.00 to get a book into the market place is pretty good.

Now, a cover is a cover and will cost about the same amount regardless of book size, but if you extrapolate the editorial services out to full length, the range is $1600-2000. As you can see, the above business book give-away example applies below with fiction as well.

In this highly competitive market, you need a giveaway as a part of your marketing plan. One of the best ways to get your message to your customers, whether your eventual aim is to sell a house, or a novel, is to hook them with a message.

Used to be you could get that marketing message to them in the Yellow Pages, or on a TV ad, but your audience if more sophisticated now than ever before. Remove the artificial barriers from your thought process. Those barriers are limiting beliefs that are dragging your sales down. Getting a professional looking giveaway on your site can be relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to the possible boom in business and legitimacy you’ll gain.

If you would like to read more on the topic of publishing consultant services, check out these additional articles.

How To Publish A Book On Amazon

How To Write A Query Letter

What Is A Query Letter

Why Now Is The Righ Time To Write A Christian Book

The Best Self-Publishing Podcasts

Publishing Consultant For Fiction

What Goes Into Successful Fiction Books?

Is Self-Publishing On A Budget Possible?

What Type Of Editing Do I Need?

Book Layout and Design

Self Edit Your Novel

How To Write Historical Fiction

Free “How To Hire A Ghostwriter” eBook

hiring a ghostwriter, erick mertz, hiring an editor

I so adamantly believe that knowing how to conduct a ghostwriting interview is a bedrock of success that I wrote a book about it.

While this book doesn’t necessarily cover screenplay ghostwriter costs as this blog does, it does serve as an ideal primer for developing a professional mentality to bring to your writing.

If you would like a complimentary copy of How To Hire A Ghostwriter: Your Guide To Finding The Best Pro For Your Project all you have to do is click and download.

If you have read this book, like it, and found it helpful, please share it with some of your fellow writers and take a moment to review it either on GoodReads or Amazon.

How Do I Contact You?

erick mertz writing, ghostwriting services, how to hire a ghostwriter

If you are serious about hiring a fiction editor or having your book, screenplay or non-fiction story professionally written by a ghostwriter, or you need self-publishing help, please contact me via email, or call.

Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation.

Additionally, I offer all independent and self-publishing authors a 10% discount on my already affordable services.  

Erick MertzAsk A Ghostwriter – Help With Self-Publishing
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The Best Self-Publishing Podcasts – Ask A Ghostwriter

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self-publishing help, erick mertz, portland, ghostwriterMore and more, my role as an in-demand ghostwriter puts me in direct contact with the exciting world of self-publishing. I say that this is an exciting world because, for its many uncertainties, self-publishing also seems to hold all the cards on possibilities as well.

With a seemingly endless stream of resources and opportunities available at a writer’s disposal, where should you go to find the most current self-publishing help?

Thankfully, there are a whole host of self-publishing podcasts out there. Every day it seems I’m either listening to the newest of one of my favorites, or binge-listening to catch up on another.

This list is by no means a definitive list of the best self-publishing podcasts.

My Five Favorite Self-Publishing Podcasts

Far and away, my favorite self-publishing podcast is The Creative Penn. Coming out on a weekly basis, podcast hostess Joanna Penn, self-published author and marketing guru, offers a wide variety of tips on how to market a book.

As far as the format goes, Joanna first introduces her personal projects, talking books she’s writing and stories she’s working on. Then she follows that with her “futurist” segment, which is how she discusses what she sees happening in writing and publishing.

Lastly, she offers a guest interview, and in my time listening to her, they’ve been spectacular. As a side note too, Joanna is British and she has the cutest little laugh which gives her an added charm.

A close second, The Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast offers, as promised, a wealth of book marketing tips. For someone looking for self-publishing help, this podcast really breaks the process of selling the book down into easy to follow steps. The podcast subjects are often singular, covering topics like email lists, reader acquisition, etc…

Another side note? The Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast is hosted by a mother-daughter team, with the former serving as the marketing guru and the latter, a best-selling author. The two ladies have obvious chemistry on the mike, but they also defer to each other’s area of expertise.

A bit more technical, Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula podcast is the one bona fide masterclass on the subject of self-publishing. If you need self-publishing help and can’t find it here, you’re really lost.

Dawson is a no-nonsense book marketer. His subjects range a bit bigger and he tackles them more ambitiously than any of the others. What he lacks in cheeky charisma, he really makes up for with comprehension. Dawson is the person to go to if you’re looking for ideas on how to invest in Facebook ads, or Google ads, etc…

On the opposite side of the coin, The IngramSpark self-publishing podcast is where to look for more ground level self-publishing help. A print-on-demand service (one that is highly recommended by many) IngramSpark really covers those intimidating basics that for many as barriers to entry.

What a manuscript looks like. How to get it up on their site. Comparing are book sizes. If you’re just getting your feet wet, start here.

Last, but certainly not least, The Sell More Books Podcast. How did I get into this podcast? Well, many of the other podcasts I was listening to referred to, or featured, host Jim Kukral. Unlike the others, this isn’t a podcast that I listen to religiously.

The approach here, for my tastes, is a little bit more catch-all and I often feel like the topics they cover and covered more deeply on any number of other podcasts. If you’re looking for a beginning marketing podcast, just to get an idea of how to sell books, start here. Click here if you want to check out a recent list of my favorite writer podcasts.

If you would like to read more on the topic of publishing consultant services, check out these additional articles.

How To Publish A Book On Amazon

How To Write A Query Letter

What Is A Query Letter

Ask A Ghostwriter – Help With Self-Publishing

Publishing Consultant For Fiction

What Goes Into Successful Fiction Books?

Why Now Is The Righ Time To Write A Christian Book

Is Self-Publishing On A Budget Possible?

What Type Of Editing Do I Need?

Book Layout and Design

Self Edit Your Novel

How To Write Historical Fiction

Free “How To Hire A Ghostwriter” eBook

hiring a ghostwriter, erick mertz, hiring an editor

I so adamantly believe that knowing how to conduct a ghostwriting interview is a bedrock of success that I wrote a book about it.

While this book doesn’t necessarily cover screenplay ghostwriter costs as this blog does, it does serve as an ideal primer for developing a professional mentality to bring to your writing.

If you would like a complimentary copy of How To Hire A Ghostwriter: Your Guide To Finding The Best Pro For Your Project all you have to do is click and download.

If you have read this book, like it, and found it helpful, please share it with some of your fellow writers and take a moment to review it either on GoodReads or Amazon.

How Do I Contact You?

erick mertz writing, ghostwriting services, how to hire a ghostwriter

If you are serious about hiring a fiction editor or having your book, screenplay or non-fiction story professionally written by a ghostwriter, or you need self-publishing help, please contact me via email, or call.

Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation.

Additionally, I offer all independent and self-publishing authors a 10% discount on my already affordable services.

Erick MertzThe Best Self-Publishing Podcasts – Ask A Ghostwriter
KEEP READING!

PUBLISHING CONSULTANT ON MARKETS FOR FICTION

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publishing-consultant-on-markets-erick-mertz-portland-oregonAlmost anywhere you travel in the writing world, you will encounter the debate. Traditional publishing versus self-publishing. The conflict is so prominent, you would think there was a feud on a par with the Hatfields and McCoys going on out there. For a publishing consultant on markets, helping make sense of that debate is something I am often asked to do.

Realistically, these are not forces necessarily opposed to one another. In truth, they are separate entities that work toward similarly lofty goals of getting good books in front of readers and building author careers in the process.

What authors eventually come to understand, however, is that this is a conflict in which they are making the choice. Every single new author must decide, at one point or another, how they want to publish their books.

Those two routes are broadly defined as such.

Traditional Versus Self-Publishing Markets

Traditional is the way books were published for the last several decades. An author writes a manuscript and then seeks publication in an appropriate forum, whether that be a publisher for a book or a magazine for a shorter work.

This should be a familiar scenario for most everyone. Over those many years, traditional publishing led to the rise of a series of familiar roles like the agent, acquisitions editor, booksellers and so on. These support roles rose out of necessity.

Self-publishing circumvents many of those extra steps. Allowing the author to skip over the process of seeking publication or an agent, in this route, they are free to bring their books straight to the market.

Working as a publishing consultant on markets, I find that for many this is very liberating. For others, however, it’s a tough process. 

Publishing Consultant On Markets: What Does It Mean?

The tide of self-publishing has risen, threatening to take over the entire fiction market. Traditional publishing is holding strong. But a third outcome has, in that naturally evolving process, revealed itself. And that is what is known to many as a “hybrid author.” 

What is a hybrid author? It is just what it sounds like, an author who publishes in both markets.

Here is how a hybrid author scenario could work.

Let’s say, for example, you’re a highly successful, self-published mystery author. You have a series, let’s say five books, and they generate decent revenue. You’re confident that you can write and release books in that world because you have a mastery of the world and a strong readership.

But after releasing five books, you are absolutely dying to write high fantasy. Like most authors, you have an inkling to try out other worlds. So, you set out to write the first book in your brand new fantasy series.

The above scenario is ideal for an author to try going the hybrid route. Already branded as a mystery author under one name, the door remains open to release books, perhaps traditionally under another. A traditional publisher is not very likely to pick up that author’s sixth book in his mystery series.

But if a highly skilled author comes with something fresh, it’s fair game.

I find this option to be quite compelling because it allows each author to embrace what works in each market for their own needs. In a highly competitive world like publishing, the savvy author leverages every advantage they can.

If you would like to read more on the topic of publishing consultant services, check out these additional articles.

How To Publish A Book On Amazon

How To Write A Query Letter

What Is A Query Letter

Ask A Ghostwriter – Help With Self-Publishing

The Best Self-Publishing Podcasts

What Goes Into Successful Fiction Books?

Why Now Is The Righ Time To Write A Christian Book

Is Self-Publishing On A Budget Possible?

What Type Of Editing Do I Need?

Book Layout and Design

Self Edit Your Novel

How To Write Historical Fiction

Free “How To Hire A Ghostwriter” eBook

publishing consultant on markets, erick mertz, portland oregon

I so adamantly believe that knowing how to conduct a ghostwriting interview is a bedrock of success that I wrote a book about it.

While this book doesn’t necessarily cover traditional versus self-publishing as this blog does, it does serve as an ideal primer for developing a professional mentality to bring to your writing.

If you would like a complimentary copy of How To Hire A Ghostwriter: Your Guide To Finding The Best Pro For Your Project all you have to do is click and download.

If you have read this book, like it, and found it helpful, please share it with some of your fellow writers and take a moment to review it either on GoodReads or Amazon.

How Do I Contact You?

publishing consultant on markets, erick mertz, portland oregon

If you are serious about hiring a fiction editor or having your book, screenplay or non-fiction story professionally written by a ghostwriter, or you need self-publishing help, please contact me via email, or call.

Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation.

Additionally, I offer all independent and self-publishing authors a 10% discount on my already affordable services.

Erick MertzPUBLISHING CONSULTANT ON MARKETS FOR FICTION
KEEP READING!

What Goes Into Successful Fiction Books?

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erick mertz, publishing consultant for fiction, portland oregonThe marketplace for fiction has never been more brimming with opportunity. Regardless of what genre you write in, whether that is historical romance or paranormal mystery, now is an exciting time to reach readers all over the world who are looking for your book. While there are more opportunities than ever before, reaching your audiences requires a great deal more in the way of savvy and know-how. That is why working with a publishing consultant for fiction may well be your best tool for success.

Understanding Your Genre

Genre used to be as easy as your local bookstore’s shelves. If you walked into a Barnes & Nobel store (or think of your local seller) on a sunny afternoon, you would find books arranged in easy to understand categories like mystery, literature, fantasy, horror, science fiction and so on.

Sure, there were odd-balls like military and so on, but the shelves were pretty neat.

Well, you can take that bookstore image and blow it up 100 fold.

Those genre categories still exist, but only in a broader umbrella type of form. Amazon offers hundreds (upon hundreds) of categories for fiction books, breaking down each of those large categories into far smaller, micro-niches. 

Take mystery for example. On Amazon there are dozens of sub-categories for mystery, ranging from cozy to hard-boiled to sleuths and detectives. 

While this degree of specialization may seem excessive and unnecessary, it is an important distinction to know because readers know their sub-genres. Mystery fans know exactly what sub-category to shop in for their favorite books, which makes it very important for you to know. The truth of the matter is, you cannot be successful with a fiction book on Amazon without a thorough, inside-out understanding of the expectations within your genre.

Publishing Consultant For Fiction Covers

Having a great book is important to author success. You cannot be successful as an author without strong writing, a good story and interesting characters.

But how are readers going to find you? That’s marketing. Getting the cover right is the first step in successful book marketing.

Whoever said you cannot judge a book by its cover did not sell many books. The most critical element of your book is a strong, genre-appropriate cover. Why is that? Because if your cover sends the wrong signals, or is unprofessional, readers are going to look past your book to ones that fit expectations.

Two things actually happen when you publish a book with the wrong cover.

First off, your book confuses readers and therefore they go elsewhere. Translation: bad sales. The second thing that happens, coming in a little under the surface, is that it leads to bad reviews. Those people who actually did buy your book, who expected one thing and got another, will leave bad reviews. Too many bad reviews don’t just sink books. They sink author careers.

If you’re going to publish a fiction book, take the time and money to get a professional-looking cover. This means hiring a designer, working with them to understand what you need and working with them until you get it. As a publishing consultant for fiction books, I have encountered more than my share of writers whose problems began (and ultimately ended) with getting the right cover.

The Realities Of Working With Amazon

It keeps coming back to Amazon, doesn’t it?

The facts are, as an author, a strong majority of your book sales will come from Amazon. There are a number of other platforms out there (Kobo, Apple, Google to name a few) but if you’re like a majority of authors, all of those platforms combined won’t equal half of what you sell on Amazon.

Because the giant retailer possesses such clout, Amazon also has a lot of rules and features. Options like pre-sales, countdown deals and exclusivity are all issues authors need to weigh carefully. These should not be something that intimidates you though. The benefits of working with Amazon far outweigh the stress of dealing with their many befuddling hoops.

Working within those rules, most authors find that the ability to create their own content, market books in ways that make sense to their platform, developing long-lasting readers from all over the globe are an adequate payoff.

If you would like to read more on the topic of publishing consultant services, check out these additional articles.

How To Publish A Book On Amazon

How To Write A Query Letter

What Is A Query Letter

Ask A Ghostwriter – Help With Self-Publishing

Why Now Is The Righ Time To Write A Christian Book

The Best Self-Publishing Podcasts

Publishing Consultant For Fiction

Is Self-Publishing On A Budget Possible?

What Type Of Editing Do I Need?

Book Layout and Design

Self Edit Your Novel

How To Write Historical Fiction

Free “How To Hire A Ghostwriter” eBook

portland oregon, erick mertz, publishing consultant

I so adamantly believe that knowing how to conduct a ghostwriting interview is a bedrock of success that I wrote a book about it.

While this book doesn’t necessarily cover fiction specifically as this blog does, it does serve as an ideal primer for developing a professional mentality to bring to your writing.

If you would like a complimentary copy of How To Hire A Ghostwriter: Your Guide To Finding The Best Pro For Your Project all you have to do is click and download.

If you have read this book, like it, and found it helpful, please share it with some of your fellow writers and take a moment to review it either on GoodReads or Amazon.

How Do I Contact You As A Publishing Consultant For Fiction?

publishing consultant, erick mertz, portland oregon

If you are serious about hiring a fiction editor or having your book, screenplay or non-fiction story professionally written by a ghostwriter, or you need self-publishing help, please contact me via email, or call.

Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation.

Additionally, I offer all independent and self-publishing authors a 10% discount on my already affordable services.

Erick MertzWhat Goes Into Successful Fiction Books?
KEEP READING!