Virtual Writing Retreat 26th February 2022 with guest Beth Miller

We were delighted to welcome best-selling author, creative writing tutor, and book coach Beth Miller to our first Friday Salon virtual writing retreat. Beth answered questions on getting a book ready for submission and the querying process. The key points that Beth made have been summarised below.

Beth Miller

Query letter

Dear name. If you are not comfortable with using the agent’s first name, then address your letter Dear first name, second name. The publishing industry is more informal than it used to be.

Your letter should be professional and succinct not chatty.

Start with the name of your book, genre and number of words – completed at x words. This shows that your MS is complete and that the word count fits with the expectations of the genre.

Then, the pitch for your book. This is the most important part of your letter. 

Where in the market do you see it fitting? What books would you compare it to in terms of style and/or theme? 

Why have you pitched to that particular agent? Do your research so that your letter is personalised and targeted for that agent.

Include a brief biography if it is relevant to the book. For example, if it is a crime novel and you are a policeman than include that information. If your biography is not relevant don’t include it.

Before mentioning self-published books do your research to find out the agent’s view. If in doubt don’t include information about being self-published.

You could finish the letter by mentioning what you are working on now or save that information for when the agent makes contact and expresses an interest in representing you.

When sending out query letter include publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts such as Bookoutre as well as agents.

Send out to five and when you receive rejections send more. Aim to have five queries out at a time. Take your time – each query letter is a work of art. It is a long process. Waiting times are longer than ever now so expect to be in it for the long haul if you want a traditional publishing contract.  


It is a rite of passage. 

Beth’s words of wisdom: You are sending out your query letter hoping that it will reach an agent who is interested in representing you. Imagine you have sent it to ‘who it may concern.’ When you receive a rejection think – it wasn’t the right address. Eventually it will find ‘who it does concern.’ For more words of wisdom on rejection see Beth’s blog posted on Writers and Artists:

Beth Miller

Author of six novels including the Kindle top 20 best-seller The Missing Letters of Mrs. Bright, and two non-fiction books. Beth is RLF Fellow of University of Brighton. She teaches creative writing and is a one-to-one book coach for people at all stages.

Beth provides a service to review a query letter, first three chapters, and synopsis, to give writers the best chance of success when contacting agents and publishers.

To find out more about Beth Miller and her books see: 

Beth was also a guest on my show see Castaway Books.

The next Virtual Writing Retreat will take place on Saturday 25th June 2022 1.30 – 6.30 pm GMT. To book a place contact me at There is no cost. The purpose of Friday Salon Writing Retreats and tweet-chats is to build a supportive writing community with meaningful engagement. Everyone is welcome.

Agenda February 2022 Writing Retreat


1.30 GMT (8.30 EST) to 2.10 GMT (9.10 EST)

Welcome and introductions.

What we aim to achieve in our writing today with discussion on areas of potential challenge.

2.15 GMT (9.15 EST) to 3.30 GMT (10.30 EST)

Writing time

3.30 GMT (10.30 EST) to 4.10 GMT (11.10 EST)

Beth Miller – Getting your novel ready for submission. 

Beth will share her experience of working as a book coach and answer questions to help you with your WIP.

4.15 GMT (11.15 EST) to 6.00 GMT (1.00 EST)

Writing time

6.00 GMT (1.00 EST) to 6.30 GMT (1.30 EST)

What we achieved today. 


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