1. Banes
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    Banes Member

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    Is this a good format for my query letter and who do I send it to?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Banes, Aug 18, 2011.

    Publisher Data
    Dear Editor,
    Exciting paragraph from my fiction novel.
    Short Synopsis Of Book
    Short BIO saying the dean of a college liked a short story I wrote.
    Thank you. Enclosed SASE
    Sincerely,
    My Name
    My Contact Information



    Who do I send this query letter to exactly and is it in a good format? It is exactly 1 page long.
     
  2. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    You make a list of agents that work with your genre and then send in batches. Good luck!
     
  3. Banes
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    Banes Member

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    I have 3 more questions:

    1. So, I mail/email my query letter to an agent and they will contact a publisher to publish my book? Should I use the Application on this site to find an agent: http://www.agentquery.com/format_tips.aspx

    2. Does my query letter outline look good? Like is adding that bio bit good?

    3. If I get an agent to like my query and they request the full manuscript and I send it to them. How can I be sure that they do not steal my story and publish it as their own?


    Thank you.
     
  4. Banes
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    Banes Member

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    This is how I set up my query letter. Is it good?

    Agent Data like address

    Dear Agent Name,

    Exciting paragraph from my fiction novel written in italics to hook the agent.

    Short Synopsis Of Book

    Short BIO saying the dean of a college liked a short story I wrote.

    Thank you. I can send the full manuscript

    Sincerely,
    My Name
    My Contact Information
     
  5. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    Do some research around the web. There are tons of helpful places a simple google search of "how to write a good query letter" will reveal and even a few agents who volunteer their time and advice to help folks with their query letters (though I'm sure there is a long waiting line for that).

    Personally, I would make efforts not to italicize very much, if anything in the letter, especially not a full paragraph (it will not hook the agent), and I would also advise not to include a paragraph from your novel (if they are interested in it, they'll request a partial or the full thing and read that ... they'll be able to tell little from a single paragraph, unless of course they don't like that paragraph...but also, some agents request a partial with the query letter so including a paragraph out of your novel would be kind of pointless really). Write an introductory paragraph telling what you have and what you want (e.g: I'm seeking representation for my standalone novel...). Write a "hook" paragraph that reveals some of what your novel is about (i.e: the conflict, protagonist, antagonist...not a full synopsis...some describe this like what you might find on the backcover of a book). The bio usually contains what writing credentials or marketing platforms you may have. It doesn't hurt to add some little tidbits here, but it's probably not going to help you to mention the dean (and if it's not going to help you, why include it?). Unless the agent knows the dean personally (and what if they don't like the dean?), they're probably not going to care that he/she liked your story (and even if they do, it doesn't mean they're going to take his/her word on it). And what does the short story have to do with your novel? If they're not related, it's probably not the place to mention it (and what if you did mention it and the agent found the story and didn't like it? Probably not going to happen, but it opens up another avenue for them to turn you down). Then, add a closing paragraph thanking them for their time and that you're looking forward to their response. I don't know why you would contact them and not be able to send the full manuscript so including such a line is probably not needed, or at least would look better phrased as "The full manuscript is available upon request."

    Definitely get out there and do some research though. Some authors post the queries that got them in the door; take those and learn from them. Some agents post the queries they liked or disliked and explain the ins and outs of what about the query intrigued or disgusted them.

    For agents stealing your work...well ideas cannot be copyrighted, so there are no guarantees. However, most of them wouldn't be in the business if they considered plagiarizing an author's work. There are sites you can check to make sure the agencies you submit your work to are legit and also to find out the current-day scams and such writers can fall prey to in the submission process (predators and editors, writers beware, etc.).

    Good luck.
     
  6. Banes
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    Banes Member

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    Okay. Thanks for the advice.
     
  7. Banes
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    Banes Member

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    How does this look for my query?


    Dear Editor,

    Hook: Deadly revenge, selfish desires, and unswerving hubris can topple even the greatest of heroes.

    4 paragrahes (351 words) describing title, genre of book, main plot and morals, and short synopsis.


    The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Sincerely,
    Banes
    My Contact Information
     
  8. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're asking the same thing over and over again in different threads, some of which have been deleted.

    The hook isn't good, because it doesn't say anything specific about your book. A hook should present the key conflict in an interesting way. This tells us nothing.
     
  9. Banes
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    Banes Member

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    My hook tells the moral of the story. How revenge and desire cause heroes to die. Is that good? If not could you provide me with an example of how to revise it?

    Also, is a 4 paragraph 351 synopsis good to include. It shows the moral further and introduces the heroes dilemma and journey.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Google "Query shark" and do some reading on that blog. You'll get a very good idea of what to do and what not to do.
     
  11. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    How does revenge and desire cause heroes to die? Who are the heroes? What are the desires? Define "deadly revenge" and "unswerving hubris". To me, it doesn't sound like you have a hero, in the normal sense of the word, at all if he's selfish, arrogant, and seeks revenge. Perhaps you should focus your hook on the fall of a hero?

    For the synopsis, I wouldn't include anything more than two paragraphs. Seriously, though, a google search can give you tons of ideas about what's appropriate, proper, and expected as far as format and content are concerned. Only ask the questions you cannot find the answers to. :)
     
  12. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Say you've spent the first 10 years of your life sleeping under the stairs of a family who loathes you. Then, in an absurd, magical twist of fate you find yourself surrounded by wizards, a caged snowy owl, a phoenix-feather wand, and jellybeans that come in every flavor, including strawberry, curry, grass, and sardine. Not only that, but you discover that you are a wizard yourself!"

    It's all about the details. In a query you give specific points about your plot that makes it different and exciting. Don't make vague statements about the moral lesson learnt or how great the book is. You must present the story and let the agent deduce these things.
     
  13. Banes
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    Banes Member

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    Okay. Thank you for the advice. I will try a rewrite. Also, my novel is 140000 words long should I split it down the middle and make it 2 novels each 70000 words long?
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, a novel must stand alone.

    If this is your first novel, I'd be willing to bet you could trim 40% of it out and end up with a better piece of writing as well.
     
  15. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes as Cogito said.

    And even if you can't trim it down, there is ALWAYS a way to turn your novel into whatever wordcount you desire. My first novel weighed in at 210 000 words, and that was after several revisions and trims. I had multiple characters and multiple subplots. I then rewrote the entire thing. Cut out characters, changed the villain, added a radically different ending and reshaped certain key scenes so I didn't have to include others. It became 100, 000 words.

    The trick is to detach yourself from the story you wrote. Only then can you distort it to serve a greater purpose.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, 140k is nearly twice the acceptable word count for a first novel by an unknown writer...

    and a query letter must be no longer than one page, the summary kept to one paragraph unless the plot is too complex, in which case, should be no longer than 2 medium-shortish ones...

    as i noted in our email exchange, you should never mention who liked your work... unless it's someone who's famous in the literary world and you have permission to quote them...
     

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