1. assassin
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    assassin Member

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    Query letter help

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by assassin, Aug 27, 2008.

    I'm not at all good at letters of any kind. After trying out the advice I've seen on various sites, as well as some advice I've been given, I'm still stuck on this query letter.No matter how many sites I read, my mind just can't seem to wrap around the whole 'query letter' idea.
    I've posted two of my better versions here. I know neither are perfect and putting both together would make it awfully long.
    Is either one heading in the right direction? Or should I be going another way entirely? Can anyone recommend something I can do that might put me on the right path?

    ------

    I am seeking representation for my fantasy novel, THE ROGUE KING, complete at 132,000 words.

    Version 1: Very little of Koral’s self has belonged to him; his body has unwillingly been given to one god, his soul stolen by another, even his shadow is owned by the devil. He’s taken most of it in his stride, especially when it allows him to live somewhat peacefully with the woman he loves. When she disappears the day their son is born, with only a message to never follow, he's determined to track her down and he’ll do anything to get her back. Even if it means eternity in hell.

    or ...

    Version 2: Discovering the woman he loves has disappeared the day of their son’s birth, Koral refuses to believe she went willingly. Not even when the message she left tells him that she never again wants to see him or the child. Between keeping his son safe and his exile from the kingdoms, he is unable to track her down. Upon hearing she’s been ‘chosen’ to become a priestess for a knowingly cruel god, he risks discovery and death to reach the only person who will help him find her. On his way, he’s informed that he’s more than just another Rogue; he is the prince to a people believed extinct for centuries.

    Thank you for taking time to read my letter.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's not really a query letter, yet... you can email me for tips on how to write good ones and what needs to be included...

    the 'synopsis' that goes in a query letter should not be a tease, like what you'd write for the blurb on pb back cover, or hc jacket flat... it needs to lay out the beginning, the middle, and the end, so the agent/publisher can decide whether it's worth requesting sample chapters or the ms...

    and 132k is very long for a first novel by an unknown new writer, even if it is fantasy... that will limit your chances, imo...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  3. assassin
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    Oof. Fitting the beginning, middle and end in such a small space with a hook might just kill me. I've been at this for a while now. With four/five versions already sitting on my computer, I'm struggling to find a new angle that doesn't sound blurby or as if I'm outright telling. So much of the advice I've read contradicts itself to the point that it's just confusing.

    I know 132k is a lot, but I don't want to give up on it. Worse, there's a sequel I'm in the process of rewriting, as well as a few short tales on the same world floating in my mind. :rolleyes: I like epic stories and generally write what I like. Someone on another forum once suggested splitting it into two books, but while it could be done that way, it isn't designed to be.
    I'm in the middle of attempting to write something small, 10k about words, but most of what I'm planning to write is quite long.
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're supposed to outright tell. They want to be able to tell right away if the basics of the story interest them. Remember, publishers are not reading it for the same reason everyone else is reading the book. We read it to find out what happens. They read it to decide if they should sell it.
     
  5. assassin
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    ... I am ... supposed to ... grr :mad: someone on another forum told me I shouldn't tell. Looks like I've been following the wrong advice.
    I'll have another crack at it and see what I can get.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    don't know why they'd say that, as it's not so... so i have to question their level of expertise in the matter...

    email me and i'll send you some good how-to stuff from real experts...

    hugs, m
     
  7. assassin
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    Yea, they finally admitted that they're still trying to write a query letter themselves -_-
    I'll be emailing you soon, m. Looks like I've some people who know what's what. :)


     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's less teasing, but needs work in places, to make sense... and it still doesn't tell how the thing ends...
     
  9. assassin
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    Goody, less teasing. Now I have a somewhat less vague idea of what direction to go. But ... well ... the story actually ends with the god dying.
    Being that I know this story too well, everything clicks. What places would you say doesn't make much sense?
     
  10. Little Miss Edi
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    Hello Assassin, good work with finishing your novel, that's quite a beast at 132k!!

    When you're writing a enquiry letter it's strongly advised that you cut out anything even remotely (excuse the phrase) 'authorly'. Agents and publishers are business people first and foremost and see hundreds (if not thousands) of queries a day. So make it really neat, professional and concise - you'll double your chances. Introduce yourself, tell them what work you've had publsihed previously and then briefly describe the gist of your novel without any imbellishment. Then ask if they would accept a sample chapter or the whole manuscript. From there on it's a waiting game. Plus publishers/agents are old-school, so include and SAE and be prepared to wait for a couple of weeks (at least). Find out the name of the agent/publisher and address it to them never dear sir/madam.

    That, I know is a full on query letter explanation and I'm sorry if it was a little long and ramblnig (chances are you probably know all the above anyway) but its helped quite a few people I know and so hopefully it may help you too! :)

    Goodluck!! Hopefully we'll be seeing it on bookstore shelves two years from now!
    All the best
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can't help you any further, sorry to say, since the book has violent content... hugs, m
     
  12. assassin
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    Little Miss Edi: Thanks, but it's the second one that needs doing and I'm scared it'll be the same length.
    It's always nice to have it laid out no-nonsense like :). Although, I won't be able to do a heap of SAE's due to where I live. At the moment, I'm kinda reduced to those who will accept an email query.

    Maia: Okay, another look and I can see that line has issues. Hmm, maybe if I turn that last and into an as well as ...
    I think I've seen you mention how you don't work on stuff with violence before (which, honestly, is all of my stories), but it's okay, you've been a great help *hugs*
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm glad you understand and don't mind...

    fyi, changing to 'as well as' won't help any... the problem is with 'when told' not gibing with 'opportunity'... you've stuck two completely unrelated things together in one sentence... take out the first thing he's been 'told' and see how it reads...

    so, how can he be 'told the opportunity'?...
     
  14. assassin
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    I see your point. It would seem that it's probably best if I split the sentences and see if I can elaborate on the 'killing the god' bit.
     
  15. assassin
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    Okay, another go ...

    For years Koral has been known only as Vengeance, leader of the Rogues and the most wanted man on Thardrandia. The safe life he’s built himself is destroyed when Lorric, god to the Rogues and responsible for Koral’s position, steals his lover the day their son is born and whisks her into hell. Leaving the safety of the desert to rescue her, he risks discovery and death walking the kingdoms. While searching for her, Koral gets a chance at a fresh life when told he’s the prince to a people long believed extinct. When Lorric reveals a plan to exploit Koral’s kingship and gain infinite worshippers, Koral takes the one opportunity to kill the god.

    I think I worked the kink out. Is there any more I can't see?
     

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