writing goals

Streamline your queries with Canned Responses

After the long grind of writing, revisions, and editing, you’re undoubtedly eager to reclaim your free time or move on to the next creative project. Create that time by stepping up your game with simple tools to help you generate queries efficiently and professionally.

Now that you’ve entered the publishing market with your book, you’re in there with the pros—so work like one. You shouldn’t have to struggle to compose a new query for every potential agent or market. Take a page from the approach of working writers and journalists, for whom rejection is a routine step along the way for any number of projects they may have in the pipeline. You’re looking for an agent or publisher who needs what you have to sell, and it may take quite a bit of looking to find the right match.

Queries are all about getting your manuscript into the right hands at precisely the right moment. Prepare yourself for a long haul. You’ll repeat the query process over and over again—so it only makes sense to use the kind of tools and approach that will help you whip through the process efficiently and effectively.

Canned Responses

The easiest way to generate submission letters quickly is a template like Canned Responses in Gmail. Freelance journalists and writers whose livelihood depend on a constant stream of assignments use templates to streamline the query and submissions processes. They can’t afford to waste time reinventing the wheel every time they want to sell a piece.

Develop a basic query letter that you can personalize for each agent or market. (Need help? Jane Friedman offers excellent advice on how to write a query.) Sure, you could just paste your file into a fresh email for each query, but you might find you have to tweak the formatting every time, especially if you’re copying and pasting over from Microsoft Word.

Instead, use a template in your email program such as Canned Responses from Gmail. Once your basic query is saved as a Canned Response, it should only take a few minutes to personalize it and add the necessary specifics for each new agent or market. Learning how to set up and use Canned Responses takes just a few minutes.

The more time you allow the task of querying to gobble up, the more emotional energy it will drain as well. Don’t let querying become such a drag that you give up before you find the right agent or publisher. Templates and Canned Responses will give you back your time and let you get back to the writing you love.

Lisa Poisso, Editor and Book Coach

Understanding how stories work changes everything. I’ll show you how to back up your creative instincts so your ideas hit home. It’s time to accelerate your journey from aspiring writer to emerging author. 

Ready to get serious about your book? Apply to work with me.

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