Friday, January 22, 2010

All about the Query Letters


Today I would like to take a moment out of my day to tell you about the one topic that seems to be hitting the agent world nowadays: Query Letters. The reason why I'm talking about this is because I'm writing query letter and the synopsis when it comes to my novels.

Or Praticing I should say.

Even though I'm still in the process of rewriting my own novel, I also praticed how to rewrite a synopsis and a query letter as well and I thought that today would be a good day on sharing some of my samples of query letters I have written over the years with you and my opinion on what I think is wrong with them.

Sample Query Letter:


I recently read your short interview in the August 2009 edition of your newsletter called School Days and you mentioned how much you wanted a story that could blow you away in voice, concept and pacing. You also stated that it’s more about the overall story than a particular theme or genre that stands out to you and I’m hoping that my 100,000 word novel ‘The electric eel bandit’ will be the story you’ve been waiting for.

Ever since Bradford became a teenager, He knew that his new mother Dr. Courtney Madison was keeping secrets about his past that only he can figure out. As Bradford decides to leave in search of what really happened to him and his parents, He realizes that searching for answers is not as easy as he suspects and ends up running into a bunch of problems along the way including having a crush on a girl who’s not from his world!

This book is supposed to be the first book in a series called ‘The Truson Super Elite Team but can also work as a stand alone novel. I have a B.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago and have been fascinated with animals ever since I could remember. The partial is ready to submit at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration and hope to hear from you soon.

Dominique Gibson

The reason I wouldn't send this query letter out to Literary Agents:

Lack of Details: I agree that you should keep your query letter as short as possible and even though it creates a lot of mystery within the letter for someone to keep reading, I think that if I stated some (not all) of the probelms that Bradford is going through, The agent or editor make have some sort of idea on what's going on in the book.

The information is outdated: Like I said before, I have been writing query letters over the years and this one happens to be from last year. More than likely things have changed since last year which means that I would have to find the most updated information on the agency itself and use it in my query letter to replace the paragraph I have now (In case you're wondering, this was an actual query letter I wrote to an agent, I just concealed the name for educational purposes).

Last but certainly not least is:

The Word Count: My manuscript states that it's a 100,000-word YA paranormal romance. Since then, I've recently checked the guidelines on the word count of Young Adult novels and the recommended cut off point is 90,000 words. Since my novel is a light science fiction book, it seems to make sense that going over a 100,000 words for a YA novel is not very smart which means more rewrites.

Overall, this query letter wasn't as bad as my previous ones. I would love to show you some of the bad ones I have written over the years (If I can find them) and tell you why they're so bad (Like I did with this one). Next week, I'll talk about another process that requires your agent and editor's attention to request a partial: The Dreaded Synopsis.