The Best Inquiry Letter Ever Written

The Best Inquiry Letter Ever Written

The Best Inquiry Letter Ever Written

Posted on 12/15/2022 Evan Swensen
The Best Inquiry Letter Ever Written

During a writers’ meet and mingle event, I overheard a conversation that went something like this, “I’ve attended more than ten writer conferences. When I do, I pay the $25 fee and have one of the visiting editors review my inquiry letter—and my inquiry letter gets better every time. The last editor told me it was the best inquiry letter he ever read.”

I felt compelled to enter the conversation. “Ester (not her real name), how many times have you used your inquiry letter?”

“Never! My manuscript’s not ready yet.”

“Is it the manuscript you’ve been writing for more than ten years?”

“Yes, but it’s still not ready.”

“What does your writing group say about it?”

“They think it’s great and continue to help me improve it.”

“Why don’t you use “the best inquiry letter ever written” and send it to a publisher and see what happens?”

“Because they might reject it because my manuscript isn’t ready.”

“Ester, why don’t you submit it to me, and our submission committee will look at it and let you know if it’s good enough?”

“No! I’m not going to show my manuscript to anyone until I’m sure it’s ready.”

I’ve lost contact with Ester, but I’m sure Ester, with the best inquiry letter ever written, has yet to become an author—she remains just a writer.

I’ve known many Esters. They call themselves book authors. They’re writers who write. They’re not authors who write.

Barnes and Noble knows the difference between an author and a writer. So, when they advertise a book signing, they don’t say meet the writer—they always proudly proclaim—meet the author.

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