Query Letter, Version 4

After helping other people with their query letters (which is, amazingly, easier than working on my own), and getting help specifically with mine, I’ve produced yet another version of my query letter. And I feel much better about this one than the previous three incarnations.

Query: Urban Fantasy Novel

Dear ___________:

Kalyn Reid is a different kind of debutante. On her sixteenth birthday she is publicly presented to her family, friends and neighbors as an adult, and is given a pearl necklace to mark the occasion. Then she is bitten by a vampire.

Thus Kalyn enters adulthood as a Yaechahre—a group of humans who have served vampires for over 2,500 years. In the days following her Acceptance, Kalyn thinks her only problem in life is how to maintain her dignity around her vampire mentor, Anselm. She has a desperate crush on him, which often leaves her bumbling like a fool. He sweetly smoothes over the awkward moments, but makes it clear that things are “just business” between them.  

But in the blink of an eye, Kalyn’s entire world is engulfed in flames as her father, mother, and group leader die in rapid succession—murdered by a strange new breed of vampire. She, Anselm, and his brother, Micah, suddenly become involved in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse as they try to find the murderer before he finds them.

Thrown together in a desperate struggle for survival, Anselm’s resolve to keep business separate from pleasure begins to crumble, and Kalyn finds herself closer than ever to realizing her dreams. But as she watches him execute their enemies with medieval ruthlessness, she finds herself asking, “Do I really want him?”

Per the submission guidelines on your website, the first two pages of my novel are below, along with the full synopsis.

Thank you for your consideration. 

Keri Peardon
[contact info]
https://keripeardon.wordpress.com/

 Now, back to the grind of sending out queries. I won’t be doing bad until I have 30 more rejections under my belt.

Inspiration to Persevere

This is an article about the author of The Help (admittedly, I’ve never heard of it, but I’m not the type to read most bestsellers). She describes the exact same thing I’m going through right now: the high of finishing a book, the high of sending out a query, the high of getting your first rejection, the high of getting a request for more materials, and then the crash when you count up 30 rejections/no-replies and there’s no happy ending in sight. It’s a tough row to hoe.

But seeing someone who not only succeeded after a protracted battle, but has become a bestseller, with a movie on the way (what I dream about!), it renews my dedication to work on getting my book published. Sometimes, when you hear that someone really successful–like J. K. Rowling–got 12 rejections, you aim to send out 13 query letters. When all of them flop, though, you feel disappointed. Then you may find out that some other famous author got 24, and you recommit to sending out more letters. When rejection number 25 comes along, you’re in the dumps again. This time is no different, but now I have 60 to aim for. I’m halfway there!

I am back to rewriting my query letter again. I’m still convinced this is my Achilles’ Heel, because I can’t seem to describe my book or characters without people asking to read my book. But to describe it that way in 250 words or less? I’m at a loss. If you haven’t yet noticed by my posts, I don’t do short when it comes to writing. (Twitter is right out.) So I’m over on the NaNoWriMo Forums, getting a critique.

Another Agent List

Fantasy Agents List (Even if you don’t write fantasy–or fiction–there is a drop-down box that allows you to choose a genre and find agents in your specialty.)

This site was recommended by some folks on Absolutewrite.com. I already see some agents I have applied to (using a paid listing service; this one is free!), but there are also some I’ve missed. (This is when my Excel spreadsheet comes in handy; since I kept track of everything I sent out previously, I don’t have to worry about duplicating.) I did four queries today!

This literary agent has an interesting list of novel prompts. You can sign up to their Twitter feed to get them regularly, or look through them on this page. These are great to use if you are stuck in your novel and you need inspiration.

I just ordered my third proof copy of my book. My husband and I are going to look through it one last time for grammatical errors and he’s going to double-check my gun usage for accuracy. Then I’m going to see if a friend will read it and help me with my synopsis before I start querying publishers. I’m still worried that my synopsis sounds much more boring than my book. I think, though, that my query (which is what most agents want instead) is good.

In a completely unrelated segment:

Breathtaking Photos of Spectacular Places on Earth – This website has some wonderful landscapes. I saved them to my work computer to use as desktop backgrounds.

Requested Materials SENT

I mailed the requested materials to the agent today! I took a picture of the package with my cell phone, but unfortunately I don’t seem to have the ability to e-mail it to myself; I can only send it to other phones.

This is a list I made on a previous post. I am one more milestone further along the road!

Milestones of Writing

1) Having an idea/telling everyone you want to be a writer.
            Participants: Damn near everyone in the Western World

2) Writing something.
            Participants: A quarter of damn near everyone in the Western World.

3) Finishing a novel.
            Participants: Several hundred thousand people.

4) Actually querying agents/publishers.
            Participants: A few hundred thousand people.

5) Getting a rejection letter.
            Participants: Everyone who did Milestone #4.

6) Getting a request for a partial or full manuscript.
            Participants: A hundred thousand people.

7) Get an offer from an agent.
            Participants: Less than a hundred thousand people.

8) Get published.
            Participants: A few thousand less than in #7.

*Statistics are for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to be wholly accurate.

I was on #5. Now I’m up to #6. Come on #8!

QUERY RESPONSE!!!

I… agent… responded. Wants sample chapters… synopsis. “Requested materials.” Ability to speak coherently… impaired.

Waaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

This does not mean I have an agent; rejection is still a possibility. Maybe even a probability. But after 15 rejections or no responses to my query letter, just having someone say it sounds interesting is a big step forward.

So now to work on getting this stuff in the mail!

Three, Three Query Letters Done Today. Hahaha!

I would say I’m on a roll, but I’m almost done with my list of agents on Writer’s Market. Which means I either need to find another list somewhere else, or get that synopsis finalized and start in on publishing houses.

Something I’ve been noticing on genre lists is “glitz.” It’s right up there with Westerns, romance, and fantasy in the genre lists, but I have no idea what it is, and I’m afraid to Goggle it, lest it bring up porn on my computer at work.

Keep on Trucking

Another query letter off. I’m still hammering out a synopsis; I have given a copy to a friend who’s going to help me with it. Once that’s green-lighted, I plan on upping the number of letters going out daily.

Tip for others starting this process: keep track of who you send queries to, when you send them, and what (if anything) you get back. That will keep you from sending duplicate queries, and if an agent allows you to follow-up after a certain amount of time has passed, you can. I keep my info in an Excel spreadsheet.