We understand that it’s very difficult for you to give us a true sense of your book based just on a one page query letter. Therefore, we invite you to include the first 30 to 50 pages with your query so we can read the actual material.
These pages should be double spaced on one side of the page only in 12 or 14 pt Times New Roman with a title page containing your name, address and email at the top left corner, title of book in the center of the page and the next page titled ONE for chapter one, TWO for chapter two, etc. Number these pages top right corner. Important! Send as loose pages. Do not staple, bind, put in folders, etc. Be sure to enclose a SASE if you want a response from us.
We do not accept unsolicited mss. In addition, we cannot return any material weighing over 13 ounces, even if you include a SASE, since our mail carrier cannot take it. Packages of this weight must be carried separately to the post office and demand standing in endless lines to get them stamped.
In your query letter, give us a bio with credentials that will interest and/or impress editors. Who you are is very important to publishers. If you’re doing nonfiction, it’s even more important than your book.
Below are several examples of one to two page bios for novels (never make them any longer than 3 pages) that caught my attention. If you’re querying with a nonfiction book, we want your academic and professional background, media appearances, papers published in journals, etc.
You should know that it’s virtually impossible to sell fiction by an unknown author and we take on only a handful of novelists each year. On the other hand, we eagerly accept nonfiction books by acclaimed experts on areas of keen current interest to the public.
To give you an idea of how well nonfiction sells vs fiction, we sell 70% of all the nonfiction books we represent (and can do so on the basis of just a short proposal), 25% of YA/Teen books and 5% of adult novels.
Below are actual bios sent us for novels. Following that are bios for nonfiction books. I cannot emphasize enough how important your credentials are for nonfiction. The authors we represent are major experts in their field.
Memoirs are a special genre and we love them when they’re wonderfully written. They are narrative nonfiction with many of the elements that novels possess. Unlike novels, which cannot be marketed until they are completed mss, memoirs can be marketed on the basis of short proposals. However, they are almost impossible to sell, unless the author is a celebrity or major public figure.
In order to find out what kind of memoirs, not by celebrities or major public figures, attract me, read INFIDELITY by Ann Pearlman, JAPANLAND by Karin Muller, ROADWORK: Rock And Roll Turned Inside Out by Tom Wright and INSIDE THE CRIPS, researched and written by Ann Pearlman for ex-Crip Colton Simpson.
My ms that I am offering you, Nineteen-foot Tide, was a finalist for the Harcourt Brace Best New Voices in American Fiction 2007 contest and in 2006, the first chapter won the Katie O’Brien Scholarship for Fiction. An excerpt has been chosen to represent Naropa University in the Best New Voices in American Fiction 2008 contest. I’ve recently been awarded a position as the Writer in Residence at the Footpaths to Creativity Center in Portugal. Published works include Inside Passages, Fly Fishing New England, Alaska Women Speak, and inclusion in the anthology Material Sensitive to Light, Slickrock Press, 2005.
I’m a published writer with a column of art criticism that runs in the Chicago Sun-Times weekly. I’m also the Chicago correspondent for ARTnews, write essays for WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR station, and my criticism and essays have appeared in other national and local publications. I teach writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at Lake Forest College and appear on many panels to speak about art, criticism and writing. A YEAR WITH CATS AND DOGS is my first novel, however.
I graduated from Princeton in l997 where I studied under Russell Banks and Joyce Carol Oates who was my thesis grader and went straight from college to The New Yorker magazine in their editorial department for two years, then moved to New Orleans and became managing editor of the St. Charles Herald-Guide where I was told “Boy, it’s all about drainage down here,” which meant there were those who had it and those who didn’t. I returned to New York where I first joined TALK and then VOGUE, but that reporter’s comment about drainage lingered with me and would ultimately inspired my first novel The Hurricane Party.
So what do you do if you lack these writing credentials? You tell us why you are uniquely qualified to write the novel you're offering us. Below are two examples.
I must admit upfront that I’ve never had anything published and, in fact, had my first novel rejected. I learned a lot from that and believe my current novel INTERNAL AFFAIRS is much stronger, especially since it is reinforced by my background
I joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1969 at a time women could not work patrol or promote higher than the rank of sergeant. Disappointed, I left and worked as a journalist and photographer for a television news station, newspapers and a trade magazine while getting a Juris Doctorate degree in law
In 1973, I rejoined the LAPD in the first academy class of women who were allowed to work as patrol officers and whose promotional opportunities would not be limited. I was one of four women who were graduated in that class and worked patrol for approximately one year before being promoted to an undercover officer for the intelligence division.
Promoted to detective, I was assigned to narcotics division where I arrested street dealers and made undercover narcotic buys. I was a court-certified expert in heroin, cocaine, marijuana, PCP and other drugs and narcotics. My partner and I arrested members of the Black Guerrilla Family, a notorious prison gang, in Hollywood and Pasadena. Working with the division’s major violators section, I made several undercover buys of heroin from Jimmy Lee Smith, the paroled Onion Field killer which resulted in his being returned to prison. My partner and I also arrested restaurant owner Eddie Nash for possession and sales of cocaine.
My first assignment as a uniformed lieutenant watch commander was at Newton Division in South Central L.A. I was working the night the Rodney King riots started and worked 12-hour shifts for 30 days following the riot. I was responsible for deployment and supervision of all uniformed officers in that division during my shift.
In 1993, I began my commanding officer career as the patrol Captain in West Los Angeles. I was there during the earthquake and was the commanding officer that responded to the Nicole Simpson/Ron Goldman homicides. (He did it.)
In 1996, I was promoted to Area Commanding Officer for the Hollywood Division and had approximately 400 uniformed officers, detectives and civilian personnel working for me. In 1997, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce awarded me the “Hollywood Women of Distinction” award for my work in the Hollywood area.
I have been on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Police Relief Association since 1990, attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA, and am a member of the FBI National Academy associates; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the California Police Officers Association; the Los Angeles County Police Officers Association and a lifetime member of the California Narcotics Officers Association.
Although DEADLY WATCH is my first novel, I believe my background shows my capability to write a thriller with the feel of total authenticity. I was a State Department terrorism reporting officer from 1984 to 1992. During my career with the department, I completed assignments in Jerusalem, Egypt, Paraguay, and Peru, and as an analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research in Washington, D.C. I was not a typical American diplomat serving abroad. I became a specialist in international terrorism and in the activities of political and religious extremist movements. My focus was Latin America and the Middle East.
In 1990, I received the Central Intelligence Agency’s Outstanding Intelligence Collector award. In 1991, I received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.
Both of these awards were given to me for my work in tracking and reporting on the western hemisphere’s most brutal insurgency, the terrorists of the Shining Path. Assistant Secretary of State Bernie Aronson wrote on the State Department award:
“In recognition of his outstanding terrorism reporting under difficult and dangerous circumstances. His end-of-tour assessment of Sendero Luminoso and MRTA epitomized the best of Foreign Service reporting and analysis.”
Ambassador Anthony Quainton wrote:
“I share (others’) opinion of this exceptional officer. To get inside the mindset of ordinary Peruvians is a remarkable achievement. Elites are readily accessible to us, but the man in the street, fearful of authority, intimidated by violence, unaccustomed to dealing with foreigners, is a far harder nut to crack. With a personal style of transparent honesty, with obvious affection for Peru, and an absolutely fluent command of Spanish, Garland Dennett built a circle of friends and contacts which gave us unique insights into the local scene. Those insights gave us an ability to assess terrorist intentions and capabilities in ways no other Embassy element could do.”
Ambassador Alexander Watson wrote:
“Garland is courageous, intrepidly roaming through Peru’s narco-trafficker and terrorist-infested countryside or Lima’s turbulent slums in search of valuable information. Garland’s reporting is terrific and fully merits the praise it has drawn. His predictive ability has been uncanny. He is either lucky or skillful, and I lean toward the latter.”
Embassy Lima Political Counselor Joseph McBride wrote:
“Garland Dennett left Lima a cult figure in his own time. Sheer ability and unassuming presence made him larger than life. Dennett knew Peru better than anyone else in the Mission. He lived his private life deep in the slums of Lima, working with the poor and reporting on the common folks’ battles with Sendero. But the counterterrorism police also called him their friend, recounting with candor their war in the shadows that left bodies dumped in the river.”
BIOS FROM NONFICTION AUTHORS
John W. Moffat is Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, at the University of Toronto, an adjunct professor in the department of physics at the University of Waterloo, and a member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. He received his PhD in theoretical physics at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK, in 1958. His supervisors were Sir Fred Hoyle and Prof. Abdus Salam, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1979.
Throughout his career, Prof. Moffat has published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals, on a wide range of topics in theoretical physics, astronomy and cosmology. Citations by other physicists for these articles number about 2000.
He is considered an international expert in gravitation theory, cosmology, astrophysics, and astronomy. He is best known for his alternative gravitation theories and his VSL (Varying Speed of Light) cosmology. Prof. Moffat has lectured on his research in over 20 countries, and has supervised 37 PhD graduate students during his academic career. He has received considerable media attention for his research in Canada, the U.S., and abroad. Prof. Moffat is a Fellow of the British Institute of Physics.
Gary Rachelefsky, M.D., past president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), is clinical professor, co-director of the Allergy Clinic and Associate Director of the Allergy/Immunology Training Program at the Medical School in the Department of Pediatrics at UCLA School of Medicine.
He is also director of the Allergy Research Foundation, Inc., and has been a principal investigator of multiple clinical trials involving pharmacological agents to treat or prevent allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, and urticaria (hives).
He is a member of the Board of Directors of Parents Magazine, and author or co-author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications on allergy, respiratory disorders, and immunology.
Dr. Rachelefsky has been on the editorial board of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology and is presently on the editorial boards of Pediatric Allergy Immunology, Pediatric Pulmonology, and previously Pediatrics and the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
His most recent research has been on the pathogenesis and treatment of sinusitis, asthma’s link with allergy, and the education, self-management, and pharmacological intervention in asthma; and the diagnosis and treatment of rhinitis. He has had articles published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Pediatrics, Journal of Pediatrics, and Annals of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Serving as the American Academy of Pediatrics’ representative to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, Dr. Rachelefsky has been instrumental in the development of national and international guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Dr. Rachelefsky became a member of the AAAAI in l974 and a Fellow in 1981. He is a former member and chairperson of the Conjoint Board of Allergy and Immunology, co-chaired the AAAAI Pediatric Asthma Initiative and co-chaired the AAAAI Task Force on Allergic Disorders.
A graduate of Columbia College in New York, Dr. Rachelefsky received the Doctor of Medicine degree at Washington University in St. Louis. He completed his medical internship at Bellevue Hospital in New York and his residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. After completing a two-year epidemiology program at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Dr. Rachelefsky performed his fellowship in allergy and immunology at UCLA.
He’s had extensive experience with the national print and broadcast media (see below):
The Today Show
The CBS Early Show
KABC Radio (numerous interviews)
KNOX RADIO (numerous interviews)
Print Interviews (1995-present)
The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
The Washington Post
The Los Angeles Times
NOTE: The following author, James Stein, has a book in the stores right now titled HOW MATH EXPLAINS THE WORLD published by HarperCollins, I’ve just sold his second book to McGraw-Hill and his third book was won in a heated auction between Wiley and Penguin for just under six figures.
I received my undergraduate degree in Yale and both my M.A. and Ph.D at U.C. Berkeley and am a Professor of Mathematics at California State University (Long Beach).
The list of my research publications is extensive and available for review in my CV. I’ve also co-authored two books:
How to Shoot from the Hip Without Getting Shot in the Foot (Wiley, 1991)
Calculus Problems for a New Century (AMS, 1992)
In addition, my article The Art of Teaching Math was published in the Los Angeles Times.
I’ve been an Outside Reviewer for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) educational revision package (1997), a Member of the California Textbook Adoption Committee (2000) and a Faculty Advisor for the California Mathematics Project (2001-2004).
I’m also a past member of the Institute of Advanced Studies (Princeton, New Jersey).
However, although I have a respectable record of both academic research and involvement in state and national efforts to improve mathematics education, I think what is most important from the standpoint of writing this book is that I have spent a lifetime thinking about how to get people to understand mathematics. I’ve been teaching mathematics for forty years, and developed the ability to convey difficult concepts in a clear fashion to undergraduates who are sometimes untalented and often uninterested.
The importance of mathematics cannot be overstated. What also cannot be overstated is the need for interest in and understanding of mathematics as a subject in our schools. Many are the laments about our current elementary and secondary schools’ performance in this area – and the author of this book has been strongly involved in state and national efforts to improve this performance.
Why did Bill Gates go to Washington to plead for expanding immigration visas to bring in trained foreign scientists to our country? Because math education in our schools was failing 20 years ago – and despite numerous efforts, mathematics instruction has continued to languish.
Gates has jobs to offer with starting salaries of $100,000 while many of our children are barely making minimum wages. We need to rethink how we present math. This is the challenge I face every day as a mathematics professor. I have realized the obvious -- that the best way to make them understand it is to make them WANT to understand it, and the best way of doing that is by making it interesting and entertaining.
Andrew Koob graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Psychology in 1998. At Northwestern he studied electroencephalograph responses in the brain under Dr. Wendy Gardner. He also studied biological neuroscience under Dr. Aryeh Routtenber and spent his junior year abroad at the University of Sussex in the UK where he focused on Neuropsychology and edited the study abroad guide for foreign students.
In 2005, he completed a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Purdue University. While at Purdue he was accepted into the Center for Paralysis Research on a GAANN Fellowship. Working under Dr. Richard Borgens, he developed a model to study closed head injury. His research was the first to test cell membrane fusion with polyethylene glycol in the brain after injury.
After graduation, he was hired as a researcher under renowned Pediatric Neurosurgeon Ann-Christine Duhaime at Dartmouth College. Dr. Duhaime was known for her pioneering research on shaken baby syndrome. While there, Dr. Koob researched neurogenesis and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Younger animals and people are known to regenerate more sufficiently after injury than adults. Dr. Koob completed the primary research on the characterization of postnatal neurogenesis in the piglet.
Dr. Koob’s interests switched to neurodegeneration and since January 2007, he has been the Don and Marilyn Short Fellow for Parkinson’s Disesase Research at the University of California, San Diego. He has primarily researched the role of cholesterol inhibitors in Parkinson’s Disease models under Dr. Eliezer Masliah. He has also discovered a protein previously unknown to be upregulated in Parkinson’s Disease. At the 2007 Society for Neuroscience meeting, his research was one of the few chosen for a spoken presentation and a lay language press release. He has been first author on several scientific research papers.
Jack Rudloe is the author of 7 books about marine life: The Sea Brings Forth,, Erotic Ocean, Living Dock, Time of the Turtle, Wilderness Coast, Search for the Great Turtle Mother and Potluck (see vita). Anne Rudloe, Ph.D. is the author of two books: Butterflies on a Sea Wind (Andrews McMeel, 2002), a favorably reviewed memoir and co-author of Priceless Florida – Natural Ecosystems and Native Species (Pineapple Press, 2004) a successful and widely used book on Florida’s natural resources as well as numerous peer reviewed research papers. They have jointly co-authored 14 magazine articles including 4 in National Geographic Magazine, 3 in Smithsonian Magazine and 6 in Sports Illustrated Magazine.
The Rudloes are uniquely qualified to write Shrimp Fever! Anne is a marine biologist with numerous professional research publications in marine science and has written about and taught marine science, environmental issues and fisheries biology at the university level for many years. Anne brings a scientist’s perspective to this book. Her knowledge of crustacean biology is extensive, having done research on shrimp in sea grass beds. She received her Ph.D. from Florida State University on the biology of horseshoe crabs and is one of the leading authorities on the subject. Anne has also published papers on the aquaculture of slipper lobsters and conducted research in the Bahamas on spiny lobsters. Her research on the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and her work on the behavior of electric rays for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute required frequent trips aboard shrimp trawlers operating in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
Jack Rudloe has been working on and writing about shrimp boats for decades. All six of his non fiction books on life in the sea, have sections on shrimping. His first novel Potluck is about a shrimper turned marijuana smuggler. He began his career as a biological collector working as deckhand on a Greek shrimper when he was out of high school. While working for the Smithsonian Institution aboard a French research cruiser off Nossi-Be, Madagascar, he helped initiate the shrimping industry there. Later he bought a small shrimp boat, used it to collect specimens for schools and research laboratories, and often charters shrimp boats and works with fishermen in the course of course of his work. He developed the rock shrimp and slipper lobster fisheries in the Florida panhandle coast and traveled to China, Thailand and Malaysia as part of a US State Department sponsored project to teach Florida shrimpers how to harvest, process and market jellyfish for the oriental market. Rudloe is currently advising the American Shrimp Company, a Cuban owned shrimp farm located in Panacea, Florida.
I have a Ph.D. from Harvard in Middle East and African History, served as foreign policy adviser to the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the early 1980’ where I held a top secret security clearance focusing much of my attention on the Middle East crisis. Currently I am a professor of Middle Eastern and African History at the University of North Texas.
However, it is my years spent as a political consultant in Africa, working both with American intelligence agencies and Southern African guerrilla movements, that gives me a unique and first-hand understanding of what Israel faces. For I have seen nation-states rise and fall, close up and dirty, and with brutal regularity. And it is this understanding that now guides my gaze at Israel’s future.
In 1979, as the anti-colonial wars reached their height in Southern Africa, then president of the Ford Foundation, Franklin Thomas appointed me to a Commission offering policy recommendations for the United States government vis-à-vis South Africa. I met with hundreds of leaders of various political, religious and social groups. Those interviews and research were encapsulated (using my contributions along with others) in one of the most important books to emerge from that era relating to an assessment of South Africa’s future. Titled South Africa: Time Running Out (University of California Press, 1986), it provided recommendations for U.S. policy in that war-torn region. Does Israel Have a Future? will follow a similar format offering a narrative of personal interviews combined with hard facts.
In the late 1980s I served on the Editorial Board of the Dallas Morning News, writing all of the international editorials and more than 400 columns. I continue to write op-ed pieces in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers. My latest book, The Intellectual Traditions of Pre-Colonial Africa was published by McGraw Hill in 1997. A forthcoming book: “Straightening the Bell Curve: Race, Masculinity and the Unspoken Variable in IQ Research” is in line for publication this coming year.
I have a deep personal interest in what happens to Israel and the Jewish people. The reason is that much of what I know about the Middle East and Semitic languages, I learned from a German Jew and Harvard lecturer, who narrowly escaped the Holocaust..
In the presence of this woman’s goading intellect, emotional generosity and quiet woundedness, I gained new insights. One was the answer to a question that had often perplexed me. Who but your own people really cares if you live or die? What I learned from my relationship with Ilse Lichtenstadter is that our true friends are not always the ones who tell us what we want to hear. This book is written in recognition of that fact.
It will interweave research on the subject of Israel’s future with anecdotal information obtained from the following interviews:
The Israeli academic community, including Zionist professors Steven Plaut at the University of Haifa, and Yoram Hazony, author of The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel’s Soul (Basic/New Republic Books, 2000); Dr. Amy Rosenbluh, Chair of the PSI (Professors for a Strong Israel) and Post-Zionist professors Dr. Ilan Pappe at Haifa University, Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben Gurion University, and Avi Shlaim, a leading scholar on the Arab-Israeli conflict at Oxford University.
Members of Israel’s diverse political parties iincluding the Zionist Kadima Party of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Likud, and Labour Party, non-Zionist parties like the Agudath Yisrael, and Haolam hazeh and the anti-Zionist Arab parties.
Secular and observant Jews from the Ashkenazim, or community of Jews of European background
Sephardic Jews and Mizrahim of Middle East and North African background as well as the Falashin or Ethiopian Jews
The Haredim, i.e. ultra-Orthodox Jews, including members of the Chabad-Lubavitch, who are strong supporters of Israel, and others like the Satmar Hasidim, who oppose it.
Diverse members of the American Jewish community, including representatives of the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith, and the Orthodox Union.