The point of the excerpt was to make it clear that we use them way beyond just shopping our books to agents and publishers. Most of you know that, but we tend to forget. Here's a little excerpt from The Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo)
Your Queryand Cover Letters
Query letters arethe ultimate assertiveness-training tool at far less cost than a therapist witha half dozen initials behind his name.~ CHJ
>> >>You just about have this publicity thing ready to roll. Your contactlist is growing by the day. You’ve prepared your media release and kit usingtime-honored basics of branding and pitching. You’re almost done except for theimportant cover or query letter. >> >>Gatekeepers—folks like agents, editors, publishers, and bloggers—usuallyfirst learn about you when they open a letter or e-mail with your query orcover letter in it. Sometimes you send it to them with only an offer to providethe kit you’ve prepared. Sometimes you use one when you submit your book,articles—even poems—for their consideration or for contests. When that happens,your query must do most of the work of a media kit because the only thingaccompanying it will be your manuscript. >> >>You can see, we’ve saved this most important part of your presentationuntil last. Many of the skills you used developing your kit and release willhelp you write a great query or cover letter. It is easier than you think. >> >>
For an author, there is little difference between a cover letter and aquery letter. A query letter asks ortells the person it addresses what the author of the letter needs. A cover is an introduction to what isbeing presented. It may not ask for something specific, though it, too, benefitsif you indicate your reasons for sending it.
You might be surprised at how many gatekeepers out there wear more thanone hat. Without information about what you expect, they won’t know what to dowith your letter and it may get deleted or deep-sixed.
So, what do you want? A spoton a radio show? A featured article in a newsletter? To present at a conferenceor tradeshow? To be published? Do you want representation? The list goes on andon.
Of course you want to ask diplomatically. Making gatekeepers’ jobseasier is considerate. It is tactful (and smart) to make them aware that youknow who they are and what they do by naming their business, their TV show, orsomeone they represent. Or by letting them know where you met them or whorecommended them. In fact, that information is a very good opener for a query orcover letter.