There are hundreds of small and mid-size publishing houses that may be willing to consider your book without the assistance of an agent. The best way to locate these is to examine books in your genre. Find out who is publishing the majority of books in your subject area and begin researching your options. Most publishers have websites where they detail what they expect from the submission process.
Similar to the query letter that you would write an agent, you can use a query letter to contact smaller publishers directly. The following is an actual query letter that helped author Romanus Wolter sell his manuscript to Wiley Publishing:
Sample Query Letter (Actual Letter That Landed a Book Deal)
Hi (Name of Person),
I would love to speak with you about my new book Kick Start Your Success and its ability to become a market phenomenon. I created this book to “compel people to take the right action for their success—now!”
I respect your time. Please feel free to call me at anytime to discuss the possibilities. My cell number is xxx and my work number is xxx.
Many people are overwhelmed with the challenges they face in their lives and in their careers. They are searching for action steps they can take to move forward on their dreams.
Kick Start Your Success is a short, wise book. I have listed below a few powerful best sellers that are similar in length to Kick Start Your Success (without a foreword or anindex: approximately 90 pages). These books became classics simply by making a difference in people’s lives.
As my friends, family, colleagues and clients constantly remind me─people want to know what action steps they can take today to achieve success.
- Kick Start Your Success enables people to move forward on their ideas─in just in one sitting. We all have the capacity to carve out two to four hours in a weekend or late one night. Otherwise, it seems as if “life always gets in the way of my dreams.”
- Its action steps apply to life, career and business. Kick Start Your Success creates a solid foundation from which people can achieve life, career and business goals. Since readers will most likely write in the book—they will buy another copy for their next goal.
- Penetrating the “gift” market. We want to help people, especially our loved ones, succeed but do not want to overwhelm them. People will buy Kick Start Your Success for themselves and additional copies for their friends and family─enabling them to achieve their dream goals by inspiring others to help them.
- Engaging today’s audience. We have become accustomed to receiving information quickly via television and the Internet. People will carry this compact book with them as they work on their goals, creating even greater word-of-mouth advertising.
- Exciting the press. Members of the press are used to getting succinct information—they must instantly attract audience interest. This is precisely why the 80-page On Bullshit, by Harry Frankfurt, is attracting a great deal of attention (#3 on Amazon.com and over 200,000 copies sold) due to its length and its content.
I am passionate about making this short, powerful version a reality. My “work in the trenches” indicates that the book will be a bestseller. “Up next on Oprah—Kick Start Your Success: Helping you create a solid foundation for your goal in just one hour!”
I would love to become part of the (Publisher’s name) family because of your dedication to the authors you serve. Please feel free to call me at anytime to discuss the possibilities – my cell is xxx.
“The Kick Start Guy”
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit for traditional publishing. It includes checklists, templates, worksheets and more. Check it out!
Just a question: I am writing a series of sports history/reference books. Does my query need to be formatted differently than other non fiction queries?
thank you , if it works will mention you in my first book