8.01.2006

Letterhead on query letters

I know you dislike getting query letters on lawyer or hospital letterhead - how do you feel about getting queries on an author's personal letterhead? Does it ever seem pretentious to you? Or does it depend on whether the author is already published?


Turk Pipkin (great name isn't it!) is a writer with a great business card:

Turk Pipkin
Words and Deeds

I thought that was cool.

Unless you've got something truly stellar, leave it off.

If you've been published the place to mention that happy fact is in the letter itself.

At the query letter stage I only want to know your name, address, phone, and email. I don't want to know you're a writing consultant. I don't want to know you're an editor. I want to know how to reach you in case it turns out you really ARE a writer and not just an assembly line word organizer in the Factory of Novels.

13 comments:

Dwight The Troubled Teen said...

Dwight rummages through desk drawer, looking for ancient bottle of still-viable White-Out.

Anonymous said...

"an assembly line word organizer in a factory of novels." Brilliant.

Georgia Girl

Anonymous said...

At the query letter stage I only want to know your name, address, phone, and email.

But..but..you said "a little bit about you and why you are fabulous." And in the Query Crapometer there's another thing about "don't hesitate to use 'I.'"

I only ask because of my great wealth and my widely noted resemblance to Richard Gere. I don't wish to unfairly disadvantage the competition.

Dave Kuzminski said...

If nothing else, letterhead should mean the paper has your name and address at the top. All in all, I think using letterhead paper of that sort is a good thing because it reduces the possibility of forgetting to include contact information elsewhere in the letter.

-c- said...

"At the query letter stage I only want to know your name, address, phone, and email."

Anon, I think Miss Snark means she doesn't want to know you are the Vice President Grand Poo Bah of Wigets, Inc., as it might state on your letterhead. Actually, I think the point is it looks like you are trying to be impressive by using letterhead, and that makes you look like a desperate schmuck.

(Yeah, okay, I have used letterhead.)

December Quinn said...

Well, that stinks. I love personalized stationery.

Margo Carmichael said...

Viable White-Out? Why wouldn't it be? It's all over my screen. What I need is viable Windex!

kis said...

What if the only info in the letterhead is name, address, phone and email, in the same font as the rest of the letter?

I mean, this is the way I've been doing it lately, because putting that info on a coupla lines in the header takes less space than four lines within the margins. That gives me maybe three more available lines in my letter, which is basically enough room for my scrawl at the bottom without everything looking smunched.

Besides, agents know these days that I didn't have to go to a stationer's and get it special-ordered, right? Cause I can see how that would seem pretentious.

Chumplet said...

I've been doing the info across the top thing, too. Takes up less space and doesn't look pretentious.

Richard Lewis said...

I'm going to be traveling in a month to various places with lots of people. Can I steal "words and deeds" for my name card? Oh, wait, I can revise: "words and misdeeds".

Anonymous said...

"...it looks like you are trying to be impressive by using letterhead..."

I'm with Dave on this. A basic letterhead is just your name and contact info across the top, maybe in an attractive font and/or color. It's saved on your computer and you pull it up for all correspondence. I fail to see how something so commonplace and useful, and which is used for practically all business and professional correspondence, can be interpreted as pretentious.

Is it that agents are 'allowed' to have a letterhead, but not writers? What bullshit. A query letter is business correspondence.

RB said...

no one is saying *not* to put your name and address at the top. Call it letterhead, call it whatever. Center it or not. I think what Miss Snark is saying is that it ain't a good thing to use your "official" letterhead from a place of business--or worse yet, doctor your letterhead by adding:

Jane Doe
Writer Extraordinaire
1234 Your street
Cluegun, IL
iamanitwit@clueless.com

And the same holds true for business cards. You're at a convention, and Jane Doe, the unpublished writer hands you a card that reads:

Jane Doe
Author
yada, yada

Your business card should reflect your "letterhead". Contact info only. They figure y'all are writers by your presence there. Don't whack 'em over the head with it, because they do have a clue, and will know you don't.

jude calvert-toulmin said...

> and not just an assembly line word organizer in the Factory of Novels.

Nice one.

(soz not been around much folks, having puta problems ie having to use the library once a day for net access!)