Query Critique: FHE Study Aids

Dear Acquisitions Editor,

Let’s Learn About the Temple, at approximately 13,500 words [This is not an accurate indication of length for this type of book. Tell me how long you think it should be with illustrations included.], is a Family Home Evening study aid targeting LDS families with children. With interesting facts about temples, from the ancient down to the modern day, Let’s Learn About the Temple contains 15 lessons to thoroughly explain why temples are vital to salvation, how to prepare to go to the temple, and the important role of temples in the past, present, and future. Each chapter is supplemented with suggested scriptures, stories, music, and activities designed to help reinforce each lesson objective.

Let’s Learn About the Temple is well written, attractively illustrated, and carefully researched. Six beta readers, consisting of both LDS parents and youth, assisted in providing thoughtful feedback to help refine the final draft. In addition, Let’s Learn About the Temple is unique. No other book of Family Home Evening lessons on the market is both youth and parent friendly, is as comprehensive in the scope of temple-related topics addressed, or provides multiple hands-on learning activities for families to use in each teaching situation. The plentiful illustrations also help to add an effective visual dimension no other study aid offers.

I am a graduate of Brigham Young University with a MA in communications and have worked professionally in the marketing industry for over ten years. As an author I currently have two other published non-fiction books on the market: XXXXX (2008) and XXXXX (2009). I intend the enclosed book as the first in a series of three, all of which follow the same general concept to teach specific gospel-related topics. [I’d like to know the other two topics.]

Please know how much I appreciate your time in reviewing the enclosed completed manuscript. [I’m assuming it includes the illustrations you mentioned?] I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Author Name
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Uhmmm. Other than the comments made above, I can’t find anything wrong with this query. If I published this type of book, I’d look at the enclosed mss.

There are two possible issues:

1. If you have two published non-fiction books already, why isn’t the publisher of those two books picking this one up? I’m not saying you need to include that information in your query. Just be prepared with an answer if I like the book and I give you a call. You must be sure that no ROFR clause in a previous contract will cause a problem if I make an offer. I’m going to want it in writing.

2. Generally, including illustrations is not a great idea unless you are the illustrator. (Are you? IF so, say so in the query.) Is this a package deal where I have to accept or reject the mss and illustrations together? Or can I accept the mss and reject the illustrations? That needs to be made clear.

Illustrations can make or break a book. They’d better be really good if you’re going to make them a part of the package. Also, purchasing the rights to illustrations may be an issue. Most of the time, I consider illustrations work for hire and pay accordingly—within my budget. If the illustrator is going to cost more than what I generally pay, or they’re too hard to work with (artistic temperament can nix a deal), then I’m going to want to use my own illustrator.

Author: LDS Publisher

I am an anonymous blogger who works in the LDS publishing industry. I blog about topics that help authors seeking publication and about published fiction by LDS authors.

4 thoughts on “Query Critique: FHE Study Aids”

  1. I think this looks awesome, and hope it gets published. I'd probably buy it if the illustrations were well done.

  2. I need help remembering the name of a book that my friend and I read. The only thing we can tell you about it is that a red headed girl who had a crush on a boy when she was young, ended up hating him because he didn't stand up for her when she was teased. She punched him and never apologized. Fast forward to the future, her mom has passed away, she helps her sister when she has her babies and finally she is able to have a career for herself. She finds out that the man she is working closely with is the same boy she had had a crush on all those years ago. Long story short, he ends up proposing to her using a banner draped across his house that she can see from the window of her house. Does this ring a bell for anyone?

  3. One thought is to cut the "well-written" phrase. Praising yourself doesn't usually go over well. It's the recipient's job to decide if it's well-written.

    Overall, though, great query.

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