In my mid-twenties, I was an editorial intern at a book publishing company in New Orleans. Nearby was a corner store that sold cheese sandwiches for 50 cents – the publisher was a thrifty man keeping alive a business founded in 1926.
His job was to eagle-eye the bottom line and rant. Bill Clinton was a “Philanderah and a liah”.
My job was to evaluate author “queries” as trash-or-not. Eventually, the editor trusted me to put queries into the actual trash; she vetted the rest.
Queries were one-page book proposals with name and address, mini-CV, age, headshot, writing credits, and book idea.
How did I confidently wheat-from-chaff these queries?
By prioritizing as follows:
- writing credits
- book idea
- name and address
Content marketers take note: book idea near-last, history of shipping first.
And here’s the catch – the ideas are what matter most, it’s just you don’t really get to have them until you publish what you think about them.