If you just finished writing your manuscript, the next step would be to send it to a publishing house. There it will be perused by the company editors, and it will be decided whether or not the publishing house will give you a publishing deal or not. But getting a publishing deal is easier said than done. Which is why you should do everything to tip the odds in your favor.
One thing you should take very seriously, is your book proposal. This is because your book proposal is the very first thing that potential publishing agents will see. So you will need to make sure that every aspect of the book proposal process is as perfect as possible.
So you will need to be as informed on the process as possible. One thing you should know is the difference between a query letter and a cover letter. That way, should the need for writing a query letter or cover arise, you will be able to tell the difference between the two.
Here are the differences between a query letter and a cover letter:
Of the two letters, the query letter is the more comprehensive and fleshed out. Consider the query letter as a mini-proposal to publishing agents.
In many ways the query letter is usually sent to publishing agents in place of a full proposal. It is also a tool to gain permission to send your full manuscript. When you write your query letter, try to cut the letter in sections such as the Intro, competing titles, about the book, about the author etc. The query letter can be used to create anticipation in publishing agents. That way, should they take the bait, you can send them the full proposal.
In summary, the query letter is a shorter version of a proposal letter. So it goes without saying that the query letter has to be as well written as possible.
The cover letter on the other hand is usually sent in with the book proposal and can be considered as a teaser for the book. It goes without saying that the cover letter is a lot shorter and usually consist of one page.
When you write your cover letter you should only include the title, the concept of your book, your author bio and the reason why you wrote your book.
Compared to the query letter a cover letter does not really need to be as detailed as a query letter. This is because a query letter is usually sent in place of the proposal letter. Whereas the cover letter is sent with the proposal letter and is meant to pique the interest of the publishing agent.
By knowing the differences between the two letter types, you are now armed with the knowledge to take the next book publishing step. You can now get started on getting a publishing deal for yourself.