Friday, August 13, 2010

My Query Letter

[Gasp - shriek - cry - cringe]

The dreaded query letter is below. But before we get to that, I feel I must explain what it took for me to get there in the first place. When I first came to the world of publishing, agents, query letters, proposals, and rejections, I was a naive little girl who'd just written a horrible first draft, hadn't edited it at all, and wanted to know what had to be done to get my book published. So I Googled. And boy did I Google. And the more I Googled, the more my anxious, naive countenance fell. Hard.
All of the apparent work and whatnot that apparently went into getting an agent was a far cry away from what I'd thought it'd be. I stepped away from the world of publishing and went back to my manuscript and decided to make it more marketable for the sake of attracting ANYONE besides family and friends. It took about a year or two before I was truly happy with what I'd uncovered beneath the horrible first draft. And then (now) I was ready to try again, this time with a smarter mind about everything, knowing what to expect. (I'd been rejected once and LOVED IT. It was so liberating. Can't explain it. But of course, that Query letter was absolutely horrid as I couldn't pinpoint the main plot of my story. I KNOW. How horrible, right?)

Now that I have pinpointed the main part of my story, I have moved on to the sequel, and I have understood more about what my series can bring to the world of writing. I've decided upon my target audience, and though I'm well aware my word count is far too much for a first time author, I'm still sending this out there. (Word count can be cut down later -- I want to see if an agent loves my story first.)

So, here is my query letter. Note that I don't have any credentials, and have just left a sentence thanking the agent and stating that I am more than happy to send a few chapters or the entire manuscript at their request.

Tell me your thoughts:

Dear Big Name Agent from Big Name Literary Agency,

When Dracula’s secrets are discovered, the Dark World shall never be the same.

Set in 18th century London, England, THE DARK WORLD tells the story of vampires, lycans, elves, and other unearthly creatures as they fight for dominance in a world shielded from the eyes of humans. At 130,000 words, it is complete; a historical fantasy set in the vein of ROWLINGS’S HARRY POTTER and TOLKIENS’S THE LORD OF THE RINGS, that is sure to enrapture vampire enthusiasts as well as young and old adults of all kinds.

When Vampire Order member Eleanor Black is brutally murdered, Xavier Delacroix is left to answer everyone's questions -- including his own. Dracula remains as elusive as ever and only continues to quell Xavier’s questions until the night Eleanor Black reappears. She is extremely different, with a terrifying new power: one that allows her to take the form of a vampire, as well as a lycan whenever she desires. And she only wants one thing: for Dracula’s secrets to be known far and wide…along with Xavier’s undying love, of course. But he is not certain he can leave Dracula’s protection in pursuit of her newfound knowledge. Especially when he finds himself next in line to rule the Dark World. And it is here that Dracula’s secrets come to light at the expense of an untimely death, leaving Xavier to rule a World he never truly knew, to battle a creature the Dark World has never before seen, and to find the one book that can guide him to his truth.

Book 2 of an intended series, THE IMMORTAL’S GUIDE is currently in completion and continues the story of Xavier’s fight for truth and control in a world that is falling into the graces of Eleanor Black. There shall be two more books after the second to complete the series.

Thank you for you time, and if you are interested, I can send a few chapters or the whole manuscript at your request.

Sheron Parris


So there, I've placed my fragile, waning soul out for all of the Blogosphere to ridicule. Give it to me straight, and don't be gentle. Please.



  1. I think your query looks good, but here's what I think that maybe should be adjusted... (I'm no professional but I've written queries before so I have an opinion at least).
    -I don't know if it's really necessary for you to mention anything about the sequel unless you feel that you really want to
    -You should add in a little more about yourself... If you've ever gotten work published (in a magazine, newspaper, etc [even if it was in a school sponsored one]), any large writing groups or organizations you are a part of.
    I've always been suggested to tell a little about myself at the end of the query and then say of course, "I appreciate you taking the time to look over my book and consider it for representation." or something like that.

    Otherwise, though, I like it! Start mailing those agencies, Sheron; they are going to see a story with potential.
    Happy writing,

    P.S. Would you mind going over to my blog and critiquing my query please? Thanks.

  2. The problem with queries is that one agent likes it done one way and another agent wants it done differently.

    Since you want someone to be frank, I'll just barely touch on the word count. I've never written a book as big as yours, but I've been warned that word count can turn off an agent to a new writer. You're already aware of it and doing this anyway, so I think you can handle the bad with the good. :)

    Your first sentence into the query is great.

    You need to start writing some short stories to send out and get published or find a blog you can guest write for so you can add more experience into the "about me" section. Find a writer site and see if you can guest blog a topic for them.

    Getting published can be a long process or short. I wish you luck on the short version of this and I hope you learn much during the process.

    My first agent letter was horrible too. I think it would have ended up on a mock site if Twitter had been popular a few years sooner.

    The great thing about your letter is that you get straight to the point and that you don't throw the topic off with a pointless comment. You represent yourself as professional and that shines through. If I were an agent, I'd give you a go.

  3. I don't know a lick about writing, but I do enjoy your query letter. I do agree with everything the comments said. Just as a photographer appreciates a certain kind of portfolio, an agent likes a certain kind of query letter.

    Do write short stories, it'll give you more [and better] ideas for new novels.

    that's about it on my end. :)