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Five Query Overhauls!

December 30, 2014

On the fifth day of Christmas, my writerly life gave to me, five. Query. OVERHAULS! Dun dun dun.

One of the weird perks of being an author is the amount of experimentation you get to do with your query. I almost feel like scientist, the way I set up an hypothesis of query, run it through an experimental round of agents, and then decide what factor to change before the next round.

So my query letter started out like this:

[Agent Name]

[Agency Name]

[Mailing Address]

Dear [Agent Name],

My 75,000 word novel, The Bound Chronicles: The Christening is a homoerotic, emotionally complex historical fiction with a touch of the psychic supernatural.

It’s 891 A.D. in medieval Ireland, and monks Dubslaine, Maclinmun, and Macbeth are each others’ whole world, outside of the Catholic monastic structure that guides their lives. But when circumstances and psychopaths force them to leave their communal life of faith and embrace a white martyrdom of exile in Anglo-Saxon Britain, that world is challenged and rocked to its very foundations.

For it is outside of the monastery’s known—if not safe—walls that the monks must face themselves and the final consequences of their choices. Britain is a land studded with a terrifying mx of beauty and horror, of a wise King and ruthless Vikings and casual decapitations. Trouble springs from within and without: Maclinmun finds himself increasingly drawn to the secular life of family; Macbeth grapples with what it means to be loving in a kingdom that seems to only understand violence; Dubslaine, struggling with psychic visions since his birth, flounders on how to keep himself and his friends together and sane.

Extensively and meticulously researched, The Christening should fit well with your interests, as expressed on your [profile, website, listing etc]

My short stories and poetry have previously been published in limited release academic literary magazines, and this is my first novel. It could be set as a stand-alone, or continued as far as six books, which I already have planned out. I also have experience working in publishing and am a freelance copy editor.

[Mention if anything’s enclosed]

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Natalie Cannon

[Contact information]

This letter I didn’t actually send to any agents, just my writerly friends, who said it was way too long and in an older query format. They were 100% right.

This is my current query letter, which I sent out to agents:

Dear [Agent Name],

Monks Dubslaine, Maclinmun, and Macbeth are each others’ whole world, besides the monastic structure that guides their lives. But when circumstances and psychopaths force them to leave their communal life of faith and embrace exile in Anglo-Saxon Britain, that world is under siege.

For it is outside the monastery’s known—if not safe—walls that the monks must face the final consequences of their choices. Britain is a land studded with a terrifying mix of beauty and horror, home to a wise King and ruthless Vikings and casual decapitations. Maclinmun finds himself increasingly drawn to the secular life of a family; Macbeth grapples with what it means to love in a kingdom that only understands violence; Dubslaine, plagued with psychic visions since his birth, struggles to keep the trio together and sane.

Meticulously researched, THE BOUND CHRONICLES: THE CHRISTENING is a 75,000 word, emotionally complex historical fiction set in 891 A.D., with a touch of the psychic supernatural. It could be set as a stand alone, or continued as far as six books. After looking over your [website, listing, etc] I’m hoping this book will perk your interest.

My poetry has been published in academic literary magazines The Odyssey and UEA Creative Writing Society Anthology, 2011-2012, and this is my first novel. Outside of my own writing, I have experience editing manuscripts and working in the academic publishing industry.

[Mention if anything’s enclosed]

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Natalie Cannon

[Contact info]

I think it’s good, but there’s always room for improvement. Any suggestions?

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From → The Christening

2 Comments
  1. Just emailed my comments to your Scripps account, and it bounced, so I sent it to your roadrunner account. Cugina – get a gmail account!

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