Tutorials
Query/Pitch Letter Assignment
February 13, 2018
0

$9

Question

AGENT QUERY TIPS



DO:

•	Most agents today prefer a query by email.  However, if mailing your query letter, create your own letterhead by centering your name, address, phone and email contact at the top of the page.
•	Whether writing by email or letter, using basic business letter format.  Single-space the text with double spaces between paragraphs.
•	Keep paragraphs short and reader-friendly.
•	Keep the letter to a single page, if possible.
•	Proofread!  Typos, misspellings, and so forth scream, “amateur!”
•	Be careful to send the right letter or email to the correct person, especially if sending multiple queries.
•	Follow the agent’s submission guidelines: if they only ask for a query, do not send a manuscript.
•	If you send sample chapters, be sure to include a SASE if you want a response.
•	If you have been already published by a mainstream journal, newspaper, magazine, or publisher, say so.

DON’T

•	Avoid odd fonts, “cute” stationery, or anything overly creative.  This is a business deal, and they will only work with professionals.
•	No need to waste time telling the agency that you want them to represent you.  They know that.  Simply get to the point.
•	Don’t hype your work by saying how much family or friends love it, how “great” it is, or how sure you are that it will sell.  They will determine this for themselves.

BEFORE YOU CONTACT AN AGENT


CHECKLIST FOR FICTION WRITERS

1.	Finish your novel or short-story.  Agents can’t sell unfinished products.
2.	Revise your work.   Ensure the finished product is as perfect as possible.
3.	Proofread.  Don’t lose an agent’s interest because of typos.
4.	Publish in journals, newspapers or magazines before submission. Show them you have a track record.
5.	Research to find the most appropriate agent for your style of writing.
6.	Write your synopsis.  It will help you formulate your query letter.
7.	Write your query.
8.	Read about the business of agents so as to be knowledgeable and prepared.


CHECKLIST FOR NON-FICTION WRITERS

1.	Formulate a concrete idea for the book along with outline.
2.	Research the competition and similar books in the industry.
3.	Compose sample chapters.  
4.	Publish completed chapters in journals or trade magazines.
5.	Polish your outline.
6.	Research demographics and marketing/sales options.
7.	Research appropriate agents.
8.	Write your query.
9.	Read about the business of agents so as to be knowledgeable and prepared.





Jim Brown
WMAQ News
321 Delaware Street
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 543-8790
jbrown@wmaq.com

June 27, 2009


Mark Ryan
New Brand Agency Group
3389 Sheridan Road, #317
Hollywood, FL 33021

Dear Mr. Ryan:

What if, as an initiation, you were buried alive for one hour, with an air tank and a radio?  You then learned that the people who put you there had just been killed in a car wreck?

To give you a little background on myself: I’m an award-winning journalist, a television anchorman, and have written a weekly column for three years.  My storytelling and writing have received national recognition.  I’ve also secured on-air interviews and publicity for the latest works of John Saul.

Additionally, I’m an avid writer and reader, and I’ve tracked the progress and development of many best-selling authors.

I appreciate you taking the time to read the sample chapters of The Hill.  The full manuscript is ready for your request.  I look forward to your response.

Thanks again for your time.

Sincerely,


Jim Brown

Overview of the assignment 
Under the traditional publishing model, agents shop creative content to publishing and production companies. Based on your personal and professional interests, as well as your team selection for the Collaboration Assignment, assume the role of writer (print, screenplay, teleplay, etc.), composer, game designer or filmmaker.
Determine what type of creative content you will solicit in hopes of securing a book, music, game, film or television deal: printed material (e.g., book, book, teleplay, script or screenplay), music single or album, or audiovisual content (film/TV/games).
Using industry sources, locate an appropriate agent to shop your work. For this assignment, please use the Full Sail University library or local library to access resources. Examples of appropriate reference or research titles may include: The Writer's Guide to the Marketplace (most recent edition), and The Songwriter's Guide to the Market; trade journals and publications, such as: The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, CMJ, Publisher's Weekly, SGA, and WGA; or other available library resources to conduct research on an appropriate agent for your creative content. As always, be sure to provide proper citations for each of your sources.
Draft a standard query/pitch letter to the agent. Use a traditional business letter format (block paragraph style). Please see the query letter example in the Appendix of your text for an example of this. Be sure to discuss your project's content and your professional credentials in a brief yet engaging manner. Ideally, the letter will be one page or less. Again, use a standard business letter template and format--not an email or memorandum format.
Along with the letter, be sure to indicate what source(s) you used to locate the agent, using appropriate citations. For this project, in addition to the Instructions and Rubric, also feel free to use other materials provided, including: Before You Contact an Agent, Literary Agent Guide, Agent Query Tips and Sample Query Letter.
Remember: you are NOT looking for a talent or booking agent, since you're not trying to get a performing gig. Rather, you are looking for a literary agent, songwriting agent, film sales agent, etc.--someone who specializes in shopping the creative content (i.e., book, music, film, game, etc.). Also, please do NOT select the William Morris Agency, which is primarily a talent agent for "A"-list Hollywood talent and not appropriate for shopping unsigned creative content.
This assignment is worth ten percent (10%) of your total grade. Please refer to the Instructions and Rubric for more detail.

	PROJECT ONE
	(Query/Pitch Letter)


	BACKGROUND

	Under the traditional publishing model, agents shop creative content to publishing and production 	companies.  Based on your personal and professional interests and your team selection in the 	Collaboration Assignment, assume the role of writer (print, screenplay, teleplay, etc.), composer, 	game designer or filmmaker.


1.	Determine what type of creative content you will solicit in hopes of securing a book, music, game, film or television deal: printed media (e.g., book, teleplay, script, or screenplay), music, or audiovisual content (film/TV/games).

2.	Using industry sources, locate an appropriate agent to shop your work.  For this assignment, please use the Full Sail University library if you are a campus student.  Online students, you may use your local library or other resources to access this material.  Examples of appropriate reference or research titles may include: The Writer’s Guide to the Marketplace (most recent edition), and The Songwriter’s Guide to the Market (most recent edition); trade journals and publications such as: The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard Magazine, CMJ, Publisher’s Weekly, SGA, and WGA; or other available library resources to conduct research on an appropriate agent for your creative content.  As always, be sure to provide proper citations for each of your sources (see number four below).

3.	Draft a standard query letter to the agent.  Use a traditional business (block paragraph style) letter format, including header, salutation, date, and single-spaced, left-justified paragraphs with a double space in between paragraphs.  Please see the query letter example in the Appendix of your text for an example of this.  Be sure to discuss your project’s content and your professional credentials in a brief yet engaging manner.  Ideally, the letter will be one page or less.  Again, use a standard business letter template and format—not an email or memorandum format.
  
4.	Along with the letter, indicate what source(s) you used to locate the agent, using appropriate citations.

	For this project, also feel free to use other materials provided, including: 

•	Before You Contact an Agent 
•	Literary Agent Guide  
•	Agent Query Tips   




•	REMEMBER:  You are NOT looking for a talent or booking agent here (you’re not trying to get a performing gig).  Rather, you are looking for a literary agent, songwriting agent, film sales agent, etc.—someone who specializes in shopping the book, the music, the film, etc.; i.e., the creative content.  Also, please do NOT select the William Morris Agency.  William Morris is primarily a talent agency for “A List” clientele and not an appropriate agent for unsigned creative content.


	GRADING RUBRIC

	This project is worth a total of 10%.   Grading will be based on the following criteria:

•		Content
•		Organization, Coherence and Purpose, including Business-Letter Formatting 	(Block 	Paragraph Style)
•		Research
•		Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation				


	























		Assignment Rubric

	
Criteria	Superior 


A	Above Average

B	Average


C	Below Average

D	Failing 


F
Content
[30%]	Superior “sizzle” opener, description of material, and background information on content creator are provided.

--------------
30-25 pts.	Basic “sizzle” opener, description of material, and background information on content creator are provided.


-------------
24-19 pts.	The creative content is identified, but a solid understanding is not shown, and/or some information is missing or incorrect.

-------------
18-13 pts.	Reveals little knowledge of content or background of content creator and/or much information is missing, unclear or incorrect.
-------------
12-10 pts.
	Does not identify or demonstrate understanding of the content, background information on the content creator, and/or critical information is missing, unclear or incorrect.
----------
9-0 pts.
Organization, Coherence, Purpose, and Formatting [30%]	Superior organization, coherent style and flow, and understanding of the pitch (purpose) are demonstrated. The letter is properly formatted.
--------------
30-25 pts.	Basic organization, coherent style and flow, and understanding of the pitch (pitch) are demonstrated.  Formatting error possible.

--------------
24-19 pts.	Letter lacks organization, coherence and/or understanding of the pitch (purpose).  May have one or more formatting errors.
--------------
18-13 pts.	Provides little or no organization, coherence and/or purpose, and/or has critical formatting errors.

-------------
12-10 pts.	The letter does not identify or demonstrate organization, coherence, and/or purpose, and/or the business-letter formatting is not used.


----------
9-0 pts.
Research [20%]	All necessary research citations for agents/ other materials are provided in proper citation format.
-------------
20-18 pts.	Most necessary research citations are provided in proper citation format.

-------------
17-15 pts.	Some necessary research are provided in proper citation format.


-------------
14-13 pts.	Either necessary research citations are missing and/or cited incorrectly.

------------
12 points	No research or reference resources or citations are provided. 



-----------
11-0 pts.
Grammar, Spelling & Punctuation [20%]	Very well organized; no spelling, punctuation and/or grammatical errors.
-------------
20-18 pts.	Organized; minor spelling, punctuation and/or grammatical errors.
--------------
17-15 pts.	Multiple spelling, punctuation, and/or gram. errors; poor organization.

-------------
14-13 pts.	Multiple spelling, punctuation and/or gram. errors; highly disorganized.

------------
12 points	Contains multiple spelling, punctuation, and/or grammatical errors, and/or unintelligible.
-----------
11-0 pts.



____	Grammar, Punctuation and Sentence Construction
Per the EBMS policy, there will be a one-point deduction for each non-repetitive error on this paper.  For example, one word spelled incorrectly throughout the assignment receives only one point deduction.  For non-repetitive errors, these criteria are uncapped (e.g., 25 typos = 25 points deducted).  

____	Late Policy
	Per the EBMS policy, there will be a 20-point deduction on any assignments that are received within 	the first 24 hours after the assignment deadline. There will be a 50-point deduction on any 	assignments that are received within 24 to 48 hours after the assignment deadline. After that time, 	no late assignments will be accepted (absent special circumstances). 

____	Academic Integrity Policy
Students may not reuse identical or near-identical work that was submitted for the same or a previous course in EBMS, or any prior degrees, unless approved, in writing, by the course director. Each student is expected to create new, original work, every month, answering the criteria for each individual course assignment. An assignment identified as resubmitted work from a previous class, or prior attempt of this course, will receive a grade of “0” as well as a loss of GPS points.  A second occurrence will be considered Academic Dishonesty and subject to the penalties outlined in the Student Manual. Please refer to your Student Manual for the complete Full Sail Code of Conduct and Standards of Behavior, including the consequences of academic dishonesty. If you have any questions, please contact your instructor or student advisor.


 

































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