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Writing for a Living: The Query

Learn writing effective queries that will attract editors, agents and publishers.

Writing for a Living: The Query

Learn writing effective queries that will attract editors, agents and publishers.
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About the Class

This course is a nuts-and-bolts examination of the strategies and skills needed to present your books, articles, ideas, and/or yourself compellingly and competitively to potential buyers. It centers on a standard part of any professional writing career, the query.

The query is a short letter (1-2 pages) addressed to an editor, producer, or agent that tries to get them interested enough in an author’s work to read the entire project.

The course consists of twelve video lectures detailing how to create queries, taught by author Stefan Petrucha based on his two decades of experience in novels and graphic novels. Ranging from two to 12 minutes, they run just under two hours and are presented in three sections:

  • Query Basics

  • Story Basics

  • Creating Summaries

Query Basics describes how the query developed, then defines and explores its five essential components: content, market, bio, availability, and project status. A focus on marketing teaches students what buyers want and how to give it to them.

Story Basics hones in on the most challenging component, content, where the professional author must pitch the core of their work in a brief, yet captivating manner. By focusing on the story as the basic unit of human communication, students will be able to understand what does and don’t work quickly.

Creating Summaries explores how summaries evolved in different media (film, tv, publishing) and how that context affects the working writer. It then presents specific strategies for condensing story ideas, a process that can also become an effective way to generate content reliably. A final lecture concentrates on the biggest obstacle not only to creating summaries but to good writing in general: Redundancy.

A free PDF of the book, Writing for a Living is also included.

Class Requirements

There are no requirements beyond some ability with the language, and a desire to improve your writing.

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