From the Editor’s Desk: Query Letters

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Here at Carina, we’re always looking for new authors to sign, publish and build. But we recognize that putting your manuscript out on submission can be an intimidating process. How do you make your manuscript stand out, from the query letter to the last page? We’re here to demystify the submissions process by giving you some insight into what a Carina Press editor looks for when she opens up a submission for review.

Today’s post comes from Stephanie Doig, Assistant Editor. Stephanie is the first pair of eyes on many queries submitted to Carina Press, so she’s here today to talk about how you can make your query letter shine.

Sending your manuscript out on submission is a big deal. You’re putting yourself out there, asking us to fall in love with your manuscript and make you an offer. We want that too! At Carina we are looking for books to acquire, not books to reject. A good query letter can be an extremely effective way to rocket your book to the top of our TBR pile.

There are two things you’re showcasing in a query letter:

1) Your book

2) You (the author)

We want to learn about both, but it’s vitally important that your book come first. Think of a query like the marketing blurb you see on a retailer site; if you were selling your book to a reader, what would make them pick it up? The first paragraph(s) of your query letter should convey tone and character, and hook us on the key story elements so that we want to dive in right away.

And don’t forget to include the basics: word count, genre, and whether there are any future books planned in the series. These details are vital information for your potential editor to have.

After you’ve hooked us on the story, it’s time to tell us a little more about yourself. What kind of information should you include? While basic bio information can be helpful, at this stage we’re more interested in knowing what kind of support plans you have for spreading the word about your writing. Are you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you have a website set up? Our digital commerce and marketing teams work closely with our authors to promote their books across your platforms as well as ours (and those of third-party retailers), and having an online presence is the first step to building marketing momentum for your book.

Additionally, we give authors the option to submit to a specific Carina Press editor when sending in manuscripts. Although this is an option, not a requirement, I would recommend taking advantage of it. Research us online, find out who loves what type of story, and target your submission if you think it’s perfect for one of our editors.

One last note: professionalism is important in querying; by sending a query you are proposing a business partnership. Editors are friendly people, but too casual a tone can be off-putting before we’ve met officially. Don’t be afraid to showcase your personality, but keep professionalism in mind! (No need to send pictures of your cats, for example. :) )


  • Start with story–personal details can come later!
  • Put any story hooks front and center
  • List your website and social media information
  • Be professional

Writing query letters can be stressful, but we really do appreciate all the effort you put in. And remember, in the end, your book is the most important thing. We look forward to reading it!

Thank you for reading—we hope these tips have you excited to submit your manuscript to Carina Press! Here are some quick references to help you through the submissions process:

  • We’re always open to submissions!
  • We respond to all submissions within 12 weeks.
  • Have a question and can’t find the answer on our guidelines page? Email us at and we’re happy to help.
  • Looking to target your submission to a specific editor? Find out more about editor submission calls here.
We are currently acquiring We do not publish/no longer accept submissions in
All subgenres and heat levels of romance (excluding inspirational romance) Non-fiction of any form, including memoirs, biographies, poetry
New Adult Women’s Fiction
Historical romance Horror
Mystery and Crime (all sub genres) Thrillers
Action Adventure Literary Fiction
Science Fiction (and sub genres) Faith-based/inspirational fiction or romance
Fantasy (and sub genres) General historical fiction (any historical fiction that does not contain mystery, fantasy, alternate history or romance as primary focus)
Interactive Adventures Young Adult


Looking for more information on our submissions process? We’ll have more posts coming in this series, and in the meantime, you can read about our acquisitions process here, and find out more about what an editor does here.

Ready to submit? Click here to start your publishing journey with Carina Press!


4 thoughts on “From the Editor’s Desk: Query Letters”

  1. Kimberly McNeeley says:

    This blog is fantastic. It`s a good chance to start sharing your essays, articles, tales with others. My favorite genre is Science Fiction, I’m writing a story right now. I hope to see my manuscript on Carina Press!

    1. Stephanie Doig says:

      Hi, Kimberly,
      I’m so glad to hear it was helpful to you! Thank you for your feedback and best of luck with your manuscript–hope to see it soon!

      Thank you,

  2. Yvonne Rediger says:

    i thin Carina Press is a good fit for me I have written and submitted a Paranomal manuscript with Shapeshifters. Angela James tweeted they were looking for a shapeshifter series and I am currently writing book two. With a third at the idea stage.

    I am hoping to hear soon with regard to the acceptability of my work. I would love to see it at Carina.

    1. Stephanie Doig says:

      Hi, Yvonne,

      Thank you for commenting, and I’m glad to hear you found Angela’s tweets helpful! Best of luck with your submission!


Comments are closed.