From Making the Perfect Pitch, edited by Katherine Sands, this is Kristen Auclair’s article about five crucial questions to answer before that query letter of yours goes into the mail or e-mail.

1. Is the book polished, error-free and professional?
2. Does the tone of your query letter reflect the tone of your book?
3. Are you sure the agent you’re pitching works on this type of project?
4. Do you know your market? (Make comparisons, but not cliched ones, she says.)
5. Are you emphasizing the best aspects of your project?

The best aspect about this helper book is that it’s written by a host of publishing professionals, with lots of Sands’ writing in between. Auclair is a literary agent at Graybill & English in Washington, DC. She’s handled both non-fiction and fiction projects.

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