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Only a cover letter should be sent during first communication and it should contain an introduction of the writer and any previous publications, a paragraph summarizing the project in a way that would be similar to jacket copy on a finished book, and comprehensive contact information, with exclusivity status if applicable.
“My tips for prospective clients are to shoot for a page of information in that cover letter/e-mail, so that I'm neither overwhelmed nor puzzled by what you're offering. A query should refer to the project on which you are focusing your primary attention—not four different novels that you've written over the past decade, which haven't found homes. I always appreciate a personal touch and I am always grateful for context on an author's experience whenever it has influence the project that they are presenting.”
Is there a fee for working with agents or do they get part of the commission from the book sales?
Is strong journalism and column writing considered when judging the talent of a writer seeking to branch out into more creative areas?
If I’m a hermit by choice (find crowds draining, don’t do public speaking well), how does that reduce my chances of being published? Would an agent and/or publisher see that as a marketing...