The Query letter game

Writers are not just people who sit down and write.  They hazard themselves.  Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.  ~E.L. Doctorow

The next step, after the rewrites is to send out query letters. What a query letter is and is not has been preached to me by different people here is the exact definition – a formal letter sent to magazine editors, literary agents and sometimes publishing houses or companies. Writers write query letters to propose writing ideas. Now that is out-of-the-way, I learned how to write one from here. Though I am new to writing these, and I am leery about sending one to an agent/publisher, I believe I can do it well ( Belief is one thing, doing it another). I began by looking at different agents and starting from here. Both of these websites were suggested by my cousin and other writers that I have come into contact with either through my cousin or Twitter.

The game itself involves writing a letter that the writer hopes will be accepted, however, this is my first try at query letters it is also my first novel, so I may strike out badly. I have narrowed the field down to five agents ( I will not list them), all of whom are very respected and are involved in my specific genre ( Horror/supernatural). The next part of the game involves sending the letter which will entail a brief description of the novel in question, a synopsis and any possible things about the writer that may be interesting or relevant to the story. The first ten pages of the novel should be included with the query letter, this will give the agent a better idea about what the story is ( a synopsis will only show the main points of the story).

In the past writers would have to send out these letters through the mail/postal service/snail mail. Today things are different, sure there are agents who prefer the old way of doing it, however from what I have read most agent prefer online now. I have learned how to do this by reading many agency websites. First do not ever attach anything to the query letter, agency houses usually will not open it for safety reasons (viruses, trojans or worms). They wish that everything be placed in the e-mail itself.

The last part of the game is waiting for everything to either be returned with a rejection letter or to be accepted and be one step closer to publication. The former (Rejection letter) is not what a writer wants to see, they want praise for their book. Knowing that this is my first attempt at publication, I am aware of the odds, and they are not in my favor. I am not anyone famous ( that is one strike against me), I do not have a college education (another strike), this is my first novel ( another strike). There are other strikes against me, they are too many to count.

The game finally ends on the day of publication, when the writer gets the call from their agent saying we have a publisher, and they are offering such and such amount for your manuscript. That is when the game ends, there are more innings, periods, halves or quarters to this game. They can wait for another day.


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2 Responses to The Query letter game

  1. amkuska says:

    Oh no, the game does not end there. Then you have book launches, book signings, blog tours etc. Don’t fear rejection. It will come, but eventually, so will success.

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