Five Things to Avoid for a Pristine Query Letter

portrait of Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

We are selling our work when we approach any gatekeeper, an editor, an agent, a contest judge. Here are five little things to avoid so you’ll look like the professional you are.

  • Don’t tell the gatekeeper you always wanted to write. You can think of something more pertinent to your cause (and something more original!) than that.
  • Don’t use the verb “quote” when you want the noun “quotation.” Some stylebooks will tell you that it’s OK, but agents can be a picky lot. Use zero-tolerance grammar rules for your queries.
  • Don’t pitch more than one book at time. You want to give just one your best shot.
  • Don’t call your novel a “fictional novel.” By definition, a novel is fiction.
  • Don’t overdo exclamation marks, question marks, or the use of sentence fragments. (Yes, fragments are acceptable when they’re used for a good reason.).

Here’s one last suggestion for fiction writers ’cause they’re so often neglected when it comes to marketing. Avoid using italics for internal thought in the synopses sections of your marketing tools or in the sample chapters you must include. Italics are being used more and more these days, but using them often becomes a crutch that enables writers to avoid writing great transitions and point-of-view. The best agents and publishers will recognize it as such.

More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie, 2nd Ed. [PB]

SKU 978-1-61599-553-0
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More True Stories from EMS and the ER

More Confessions shares the raw and honest feelings of emergency service professionals through true 'story behind the story' revelations. Disclosing experiences from both sides of the gurney, Sherry and other EMS, ER, paramilitary, and firefighter responders walk you along their fragile line of sanity. Using humor as a life raft during perfect storms, workers reflect upon how they endure and survive personal and professional tragedy while trying not to care too much, and what happens when they fail in that attempt. A graduate student in psychology, Sherry is a paramedic, trauma nurse, and crisis interventionist who led a national paramilitary crisis response team and continues conducting crisis management training throughout the U.S.

Emergency Service Professionals Praise More Confessions

"Once again, Sherry brings to life the overlooked or, too often, over-hyped world of the emergency services for all to experience. She does so with a vitality and spirit that makes her prose almost poetic. If you want to glimpse the amazing world of EMS from 'behind the curtain, ' More Confessions is for you. Highest recommendations." --Rev. Don Brown, B.A., M.Div., Flight Paramedic (retired), Chaplain, Lt. Col., CAP (retired); Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Grand Saline, TX

"More Confessions will take you to the edge of first responder insanity with honesty and integrity. Sherry has once again opened our world to the reader by cleverly describing the unbelievable experiences that we have every day. This book is the real deal!" --Peter Volkmann, MSW, EMT, Chief-Stockport NY Police Department.

"Through the venue of real and personable human experience stories, Sherry's More Confessions is a powerfully written sequel that provides key insights into the need for those who work in emergency and disaster response, as well as their families, to actively and purposely recognize and consistently addresstheir physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. All who read this book will be touched deeply in some way." --Harvey J. Burnett, Jr., PhD, LP, President, Michigan Crisis Response Association Sergeant, Buchanan Police Department Assistant Professor of Psychology, Behavioral Sciences Dept., Andrews University

From the Reflections of America Series at Modern History Press www.ModernHistoryPress.com

Medical: Allied Health Services - Emergency Medical Services

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