Seduction by Query

There’s no wondering why our newest columnist, Elizabeth Creith, won our editorial hearts immediately. Actually, except for Carl Rollyson who I invited to join the BiblioBuffet team, all of our columnists have seduced us with excellent query letters. Each was different, reflecting its owner’s personality. But without exception they were all enticing pieces of writing, showcasing not just the writers’ backgrounds and ideas but their personalities. They knew that we weren’t looking for “content.” They showed us they had things to say that would appeal to our readers.

Elizabeth’s was no different. It was obvious from the beginning that she had read our Write for Us page and followed the guidelines. You’d think this would be common sense for querying writers, but conversations with fellow editors and several years of experience have taught me that common sense is  . . . uncommon. Let me show you. Here’s Elizabeth’s letter:

I’d like to write a regular column for you. I see it as commentary in a light and drily humourous style, covering everything from the physical development of books (because it’s hard to take a stone tablet to read on the bus) to modern reading habits and the advent of electronic books (reading an e-book in the bathtub give a whole new meaning to “Kindle”) and everything in between. I’m a bookmaker as well as a writer and reader, and I have an author’s familiarity with the publishing industry.

Some ideas for columns:

  • Basalt to bytes – a race through book formats in history
  • How do you dog-ear a Kindle? – a technophobe muses on e-books
  • Quarto, folio, elephant – the vocabulary of books
  • Librocubicularists Anonymous – a twelve-step programme for those who read in bed
  • The Breeding Habits of the Common Book
  • The Dictionary Dance – descriptivist, prescriptivist, who cares? (I do!)

I have a track record as a columnist on radio. I worked for CBC as a freelance writer and broadcaster for about a decade, during which I had three regular features. One was slice-of-life humourous commentary, the second a folklore “column” and the third a humourous column about life as a shepherd in Northern Ontario. I also did a pet column for two online newspapers.

In addition I’ve been writing fiction and non-fiction for over twenty years, and have publishing credits both in print and online. I write horror and fantasy as well as humour.

I’ve never missed a writing deadline. You can find my references at my blog, Elizabeth Creith’s Scriptorium.

My reading interests are, in alphabetical order, animals, art, fantasy, history (military, social and scientific), humour, paper arts, physics, poetry, pottery, science fiction, textiles, writing and editing. I’ve also been known to indulge in mainstream literary fiction.

Currently on my night stand – or, more accurately, the pile on the floor by my bed –

  • Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”
  • Terry Pratchett’s “Nation”
  • William Tapply’s book on writing mystery
  • Richard Lederer’s “A Man of My Words”
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes
  • Paul Jackson’s book on how to make pop-ups
  • Creative Bookbinding
  • How to Shoe Your Horse
  • I just finished reading “Lavinia” by Ursula K. LeGuin

I don’t have a clip on reading or books, so I’ve written a sample column.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Elizabeth Creith

May I just say that this is a jewel of a query. I sat up. I paid attention. Then I promptly forwarded it on to Nicki for her opinion. And we had a new columnist.

Writing humor is hard. I know. I’ve tried it, and my results were so poor I not only have never attempted to publish any of it, I’ve never even tried to write it again. I’ll leave it to those who can do it well. Thankfully, for our readers, we have one of them. And the fact that she specializes in biblio-humor is fantastic. Where else but at BiblioBuffet will you find someone who knows how to shoe a horse and dance with dictionaries?

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2 Comments

Filed under BiblioBuffet

2 responses to “Seduction by Query

  1. Pingback: Literary underwear exposed! | Elizabeth Creith's Scriptorium

  2. I’m a big fan of Elizabeth’s, and glad you are, too – and I’m sure your readers will soon be as well. I’m happy to add BibioBuffet to the list of blogs I follow.

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