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What is meant by "Query letters not accepted"?

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I am a new, non-agented writer with a PB manuscript that I think is finally ready to send out. I've been combing through the list of publishers in The Book and have noticed that a few publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts also note that they don't accept query letters (e.g. Charlesbridge, Holiday House).

My question is: do I send them anything that serves a similar purpose (introduces me and/or my book), or is it literally just my manuscript and that's all?
#1 - May 18, 2022, 07:08 AM

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Without having read exactly what was stated, I think they probably mean they don't want ONLY query letters, with no pages. I would include a letter with the manuscript.
#2 - May 18, 2022, 07:53 AM
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That's odd. Some publishers want a cover letter + sample pages, others want just a query letter, but I've not heard of publishers wanting only pages without a cover (only some contests). So I'd take Marcia's advice and send a letter along with your PB. Good luck!
#3 - May 18, 2022, 04:07 PM
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Holiday House does want query letters -- it says it right on their website. Charlesbridge seems to want your writing only.
#4 - May 19, 2022, 02:34 PM

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I think there is a distinction between query letters and cover letters, but most people use them interchangeably. A query letter summarizes your story and asks if you can send it. A cover letter pitches your story and includes the story or whatever number of pages they are asking for. So I would definitely send a brief cover letter describing your story and your bio.  But now a days, most of these letters are just your email.

But I checked on the Charlesbridge website and I don't see anywhere where they state they DON'T want a letter. I would definitely check websites before sending anything, info in The Book could be out of date. On the website, they state they want things emailed, so in that email, I would briefly describe your story and why you think it's a good fit for the publisher.
#5 - May 19, 2022, 03:36 PM
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Thank you to all who have responded so far. I am still very new at all this, so I appreciate all of the information you're all willing to share with a noob like me!

Here's a related follow-up question: I'm looking at Chronicle Books, and under their Children's Submission guidelines (specifically, the sub-heading "What to Include in Your Proposal"), it says:

"Books for younger children may be submitted in their entirety without querying first. Projects for older children—such as chapter books or YA novels—should be submitted by query letter, synopsis, and three (3) sample chapters."

Since my MS is a picture book, am I to understand that "Books for younger children may be submitted in their entirety without querying first" means that they only want the MS, with no other introductory language from me? Or do I still need to provide cover letter-type verbiage in the body of the email (as opposed to an attached formal cover/query letter)?

BTW Their full submissions page is located here: https://www.chroniclebooks.com/pages/submissions
#6 - May 24, 2022, 11:18 AM

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I understand this to mean that you submit the PB with a cover letter introducing yourself and your PB. Good luck!

A query is more of a pitch. You are querying whether there's interest in a book you have to offer so that usually entails the letter with an outline &/or sample &/or marketing/comparable titles, etc. The details vary with each publisher.
#7 - May 24, 2022, 11:59 AM
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A query is more of a pitch. You are querying whether there's interest in a book you have to offer so that usually entails the letter with an outline &/or sample &/or marketing/comparable titles, etc. The details vary with each publisher.

I think there is a distinction between query letters and cover letters, but most people use them interchangeably. A query letter summarizes your story and asks if you can send it. A cover letter pitches your story and includes the story or whatever number of pages they are asking for. So I would definitely send a brief cover letter describing your story and your bio.  But now a days, most of these letters are just your email.

Thank you both very much for clarifying the difference between "cover" and "query." As I said, I still have a lot to learn.
#8 - May 24, 2022, 12:17 PM

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Agree with Vijaya. Send in your PB with a cover letter introducing your book and yourself. But include the entire picture book, not just a proposal or first few pages.

Good luck!
#9 - May 24, 2022, 12:22 PM
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(as opposed to an attached formal cover/query letter)

Very few people take the letter as an attachment. In general, the letter is at the top of the email and the manuscript text is under it in full for a PB. All is in the body of the email. Most people are leery of opening attachments from unknown folks. But some will take the manuscript (and synopsis and sample where appropriate) as an attachment to the letter. If it doesn't say to attach, don't or do both.
#10 - May 24, 2022, 06:11 PM
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Yes, attachments can be problematic especially for web based responses where you're supposed to limit the size of the attachment. This is hard to do with even jpegs.

One thing that I've found difficult is some agents or publishers who are open to looking at work from an author/illustrator will have a size limit of 2 mb on their forms! 

Don't they realize it's almost impossible to show more than 3 images or maybe even just 1 image at that size?

I'm sure it's easy to put up a text PB or even novel that fits into 3 mb... but that's not the case with images. As we know, image files are composed of millions of bits of data, so it's difficult to show any kind of illustrated work with a 32 page dummy book that is smaller than 5 mb.

Sometimes I just have a sort of mix of story text and illustrations that I present as a jpeg... and that kind of works.  So attachments can be problematic.
#11 - May 29, 2022, 10:22 AM

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