Plotting Horse


Hrmmm, I have a query.
June 24, 2009, 09:56
Filed under: The Query Letter, Uncategorized

Having my manuscript at the beta readers, I am working on a query letter. This because I am not to worry too much about what thoughts my story might be conjuring up in my two readers, as this could very well cause me to become a psychotic lunatic. Or just supremely paranoid, or heavily depressed. So, I have decided to ignore the whole thing and pretend the story is pretty much ready to ship out. Hence the query letter.

Although, I can now say that I am happy to have started in good time. I’ve never written one before (gasp! First novel? And never written a query letter? Does that mean, never have sent anything out to try for publication?) (YES!! This is exactly what it means! Please just wish me luck!) and so it is all new to me.

A query letter is a professional letter to an agent about the work and the author. It should contain these things:

  1. agent name
  2. genre of work
  3. suck up to the agent/presentation of knowledge about agent. (Don’t ask me why this seems to be necessary! I think the guise is something like: ‘my book is just like all the other books you represent, so please oh please dear god take me on… It wouldn’t be any work for you, hardly. Please. Please!’ – Sure, agents are busy. But we are busy too! I don’t have time to read even 1 book that each agent has published. Much less do I have the money to go buy these books, because of course I’ll just look ridiculous if the books are so successful that they are in the library! I must be a humble little worker bee. Note: I may be entering this whole business from the wrong angle. Yes, suddenly I’m starting to suspect that I will need an attitude adjustment at some point before landing an agent. I’ve never been known to keep a secret, and I’m sure I would have no qualms with telling said agent about all the issues of his business. He/she might not like that. Depends how good the book is, I guess.)
  4. Title of work
  5. word count
  6. the story – not a plot outline, but a ‘grabber’ like on dust jackets. Sandra is a working mother, she suspects her next door neighbour may have murdered someone. When Sandra breaks into her apartment she finds something very intriguing…
  7. Info about me. There’s not much. I’m hoping to land this copy writing job at IKEA, as that would give me one more line. But basically, this info is ONLY to tell the agent if you have already sold other work – that you were successful and sold many copies and got fabulous reviews.
  8. Your name.
  9. Some agencies like a few sample pages, while others will vehemently throw  your query in the trash if they find anything but a single page and a SASE in the envelope. (SASE – self addressed stamped envelope). I’m sending snail mail because otherwise I will never get any rejections back! Sadly, I will need rejections to read to believe that the agent has actually received my query and worked out what it is. Is that some sort of deformed confidence – that I would be more likely to believe that the query was caught in spam rather than in the agent’s grease trap? So, check the agencies website to see if they want sample pages. 

I’ve already got a list of eight agencies, that I will be starting with.

Next is… All the other stuff.

I’ll get back to you with the ins and outs.

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