Ten Rules for Query Letters – By MAGGIE STIEFVATER

I stumbled across this post recently while browsing Maggie’s site and thought perhaps some of y’all who are interested in traditional publishing might like to take advantage of her advice.

I completely forgot to post about queries yesterday, after I promised. I realize this makes me a Bad Person and you have my permission to throw Virtual Tomatoes at me now.

Okay, that’s enough.

Here are my thoughts on query letters. Because it’s early and I’ve only had one cup of tea, we’re gonna go with numbers to organize things, because good holy pete, there is nothing like a numbered list to add order to a blog post. So.

1. People overthink queries. Okay, so they are the only thing that an agent or editor might ever see of your work. So they have to embody everything about your personality and your books personality in a single page. So you will get absolutely nowhere if your queries suck, no matter if you’ve written the Great American Novel. Still, people overthink them. And this is why. Because…


The Things They Don’t Tell You About Publication

Question: What’s an ITIN?

Answer: Why it’s an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number! That thing that stops the IRS from withholding 30% of your profits when you sell your book in the US from outside of the US. It lets them know: “Hey guys, my country has a tax treaty with your country so, don’t do that thing you do. Okay? Thanks!”

If you live outside the US and you’re planning on making use of a distributor like Amazon.com, Smashwords, etc, make sure you get one of these and get it early on. If you’re approved for an ITIN, it’s going to take them six weeks to mail it to you. Also, from what I’ve been reading, your ITIN doesn’t apply to the year in which it’s issued to you, so if this is your first time selling to the US, you’d better start this process while you’re still writing your first draft.

I don’t recall seeing a self-publication guide that so much as mentions this so, as you can guess, it was a nasty little surprise I stumbled upon while uploading my book. All I can say is: wow this is way more complicated than I thought it would be. I have way more respect for self-pubbed authors now that I’m running the gauntlet myself.

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