Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Query Letter Revised

This is an old version as of now. But I figured I'd keep it up just so I can see how ridiculous I once was :)

I'm hoping to start querying soon now that I'm done editing my novel. Please let me know what you think of this query letter. Brutal is fine, but brutal and helpful is better...

Dear XX,

Fredrick angers the village elders when he spoils their plans of marrying Anna off to one of their grandsons by falling in love with her first.

Searching for a way to rid themselves of him, the elders seize their chance when a nearby volcano erupts. They blame Fredrick for the disaster, accuse him of angering the gods, and unanimously banish him. But instead of leaving, he organizes the villagers to help depose the elders.

With a long and consuming fight imminent, during the peak of the harvest season, Anna pleads with Fredrick to submit to the elder’s demands in order to avoid potential starvation come winter. He reluctantly agrees, but swears to Anna that he will return.

Alone in the wilderness, the gods warn Fredrick that he needs to make a great sacrifice to keep the deadly volcanic ash blowing away from the village. He must figure out what that is in order to save this entire community and everybody he loves from a horrible death.

Bleed Well, 89,000 words, is a fantasy novel. Thank you for your time and consideration. Synopsis, sample chapter, and full manuscript are available upon request.

Michael Tate


Helen August 31, 2011 at 6:24 PM  

It sounds good. It feels like a synopsis how about writing a hook to catch their eye first. Which is what I did before I gave them a synopsis.

My example, don't know if it will help but here it is:
"Jumping at Shadows:

When Belle discovers the secret of a family heirloom, she and her friend Rosy are propelled into a word of the shadows—the same shadows that have been haunting Belle all her life. Soon Belle realises that the future rests in her hands, and only she can keep the magic of her ancestors from falling into the clutches of a dangerous mad man.
Fantasy Fiction. Word Count: 50,189"

I just have a couple of questions, from my own experience.

Does the publisher/s you are intending to send to have a set formula that they require?

Some ask for just a synopsis - some a small sample of the writing say 150 words. Other say nothing at all.

The one I sent to Penguin had no guide lines, but I started it off by saying Dear Editor," Penguin has a proud history of publishing quality fiction for both adults and children alike" then when on to say I am submitting first three chapters (that was their requirement btw). of a fantasy fiction.

After that I wrote a short hook, told them who the story was aimed at and gave them a synopsis - then finished as you did.

I had a well published author friend guide me on writing this and it worked. I hope it helps you in some way.

I obviously did something right as it got my stuff read and it got me a very nice reply, and even though they couldn't offer me a contract they did say that the editors who read my work thought it held real promise.

When I've done email queries I used this letter as a basis but have also included a sample of the writing.


Michael A Tate August 31, 2011 at 6:32 PM  

Yea, perhaps things are different here in the states, but generally when you want to get an agent, you need a query letter which is around 150-200 words and is essentially a 'teaser' for the book.

Some will specify that you also send a 2-3 page synopsis and or first 5 pages etc. but the query letter is pretty much standard.

Thanks for showing yours. Sounds like a solid premise and does a pretty good job hooking.

Helen August 31, 2011 at 6:54 PM  

Ah you're writing an agent query, I thought it was direct to a publisher.

That makes a lot of sense what you are saying. Just ignore me, I'm not very practiced at this. Good luck I'm sure you will do well.

Helen ^__^

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