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  1. #1
    -- debraji

    query letter needs improvement

    I sent out eight queries using this letter, and got two positive responses. I\'d like to improve those odds. One agent said that my publishing credits interested her more than my query. Please help!


    Dear Agent So-and-so,

    Tamana Sorn thought she’d long ago severed her connections to the hidden realm of Tanagal and its ruler, Queen Maire--but when she finds a Tangalian corpse in her garden, and her strangely gifted apprentice disappears, she plunges into a world of conspiracy and deadly magic. [Booktitle] is a 100,000 word fantasy combining the grounded feel of [authorexample1]\'s books with the wry sensibility of [authorexample2].

    Tamana Sorn has eked out a quiet living as an herbal healer among mortals: teaching nine-year-old Braye how ash-onion softens bad dreams, how beggar\'s cap increases generosity. She discovers that the boy has an unusual talent: he can see through things. It\'s a gift that brings unwanted attention. When Braye vanishes, Tamana returns to Tanagal--a land she once renounced--in search of the boy. There she frees Corrid, a man ensnared in deerhound form, and encounters shapeshifters who force her into their own mold with disastrous results. (Who would have thought galloping over the plains would be so punishing?) They deliver her to the lord of Herron, who is pursuing a dangerous agenda of his own. With Corrid’s help, Tamana escapes, damaged and uncertain of her abilities. But she\'s convinced that Queen Maire holds the key to Braye’s abduction. To retrieve him, Tamana must cross the boundaries of death itself, for the Queen has hidden Braye among the dead to keep him safe from the enemy that would destroy them all.

    If you are interested in [booktitle], I would be happy to send you sample chapters, a detailed synopsis, or the complete manuscript.

  2. #2
    Patrick Dilloway

    Re: query letter needs improvement

    The book does have a title, right? I mean, no one's going to steal it from you if that's what you're worried about.

    Might want to consider dropping those [authorexample]s, whatever they may be. Don't compare your style to other authors.

    Two-for-eight is a lot higher than my batting average, though, so I wouldn't even worry about this.

  3. #3
    Mya Bell

    Re: query letter needs improvement

    The main problem I had Debra, was trying to follow and unravel all the things that were happening in the second paragraph. Perhaps there are just too many characters mentioned for me to get the main idea or maybe it needs to be broken into two chunks instead of one.

    If you were to focus a little more on Tamana and Braye, so we get a feel for their adventures, rather than mentioning so many others, it might work better.

    Secondary characters are important in a story, because they help give it richness and depth, but in a query, it's sometimes too much information all at once. You know your characters, but the reader doesn't have your insight and may not be able to grasp it all in the short time that's given to each query.

    Don't change it too much, though. I agree with Patrick, your ratio of responses is pretty good.

    --- Mya Bell

  4. #4
    -- debraji

    Re: query letter needs improvement

    Patrick, the book's called "The Puzzle Tree." I wasn't afraid of the title being swiped--I'm not sure why I thought I'd best obscure the title, but I won't do that any more.


  5. #5
    -- debraji

    Re: query letter needs improvement

    Maya, thanks, I see what you mean. I'll give it a try.


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