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Research is Key for Querying Authors

I’ve been a bit circumspect on the whole BookBlast question; I figure, it doesn’t work when authors send me a query via Bookblaster, but who’s to say it doesn’t work for another editor? But just today Matt Wagner of Fresh Books posted his own frustration with Bookblaster, so apparently it’s not just me.

One key piece of advice I always give new authors is to research a publishing company before you send a query or manuscript. I had an occasion once where I received a query for a cosmic sci-fi adventure. This is generally not NewSouth’s genre, so I readied a rejection letter, and as I went to send it, in the mail arrived four professionally printed-and-bound copies of the book, sent to us by Express Mail. This was nearly $20 of the author’s money, completely wasted, because the author didn’t research us first to find out of theirs was the kind of book we accept.

After you’ve researched a publishing company and you know that what you’ve written is what they publish, a great strategy is to mention that company’s work in your cover letter. If you compare your work to the latest bestseller, it’s hard to know if an editor has read that book; if you compare your work to one the company published, you have a much better chance of starting out with the editor on commmon ground.

Applications like Bookblaster, while perhaps expedient, are the antithesis of this strategy; they’re queries void of common ground. And when your Bookblaster query is mixed in with fourteen inapplicable ones, the chances are better it’s just going to get deleted instead of receieving the attention it deserves.