How to Write a Query Letter
|Professor Den Asaan says check your spelling|
So, another little divergence. Some readers asked me "can you show us how to write a query letter"? Sure. I'll show you mine and we'll go through it section by section.
First are your minutiae: name, address, email, all contact info. Easy.
2) Book Info
Book Title: “The Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu: Book One in the Haanta Series”
Book Genre: Fiction - Fantasy
Sub Genre: Romance Epic
Book Word Count: 165,201
Super simple. Now if you see my word count, I'll tell you that this would scare a lot of publishers and lit agents, but this is how we make the word count credible (see below)
This is your introduction and your credentials only. Here is my first paragraph:
My name is Michelle Franklin. I am a published short story fantasy writer and game writer. I have been writing for action adventure and RPG game titles for Atari and DC Studios for the past six years and as well have been published numerous times in The.Gloaming Magazine, Concrete Visions Literary Magazine, The Warehouse Magazine and other small contemporary and fantasy collections.
That's it. Make sure not to embellish here because your credentials will be checked.
4) Intro to your story.
This is optional but I have found that if you give a tiny into as to why you wrote this story, it helps to introduce the title. Here is what I wrote:
Last year, when the company I was working for shut down due to the recession, I decided I was going to turn my focus to writing fantasy novels. I began writing stories of a female commander and a petulant giant who travel together, saving their kingdoms from the threat of dark magic and adventuring through the world of The Two Continents. I posted a few stories with these two characters online to gauge a response and when their stories attracted over twenty-thousand readers within six months, I decided they needed their own novel.
That's it. No editorializing. Just facts.
5) The Story
This is it. This is the most important part of the letter. What is your story about? No embellishments, no purple prose, just give the summary in clearly and concisely. Here is what I wrote:
“The Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu” tells the story of Captain Boudicca MacDaede, leader of Frewyn’s first regiment, who is scrambling to gather as many men as she can find to join the fight for their homeland in a last attempt to save the kingdom of Frewyn from a Galleisian invasion. As she searches the barracks for more weapons to bring to the battle, she finds a mysterious giant sitting in one of the holding cells at the end of the garrison. She observes his strange appearance and manner of dress and she surmises that he is a Haanta, one of the noble and reticent giants from the island of Sanhedhran. As he bears the mark of the warrior cast, she asks the giant to join the war effort in exchange for his freedom. He agrees and when the battle for their outpost is won, he resolves to stay until the end of the war to regain his honour and position amongst his people. One year later, Captain MacDaede is made a commander and the Den Asaan Rautu is invited back to his home in the islands, each rewarded for their service in turning the tide of the Galleisian War. When the giant is prepared to leave, however, he realizes he has spent the better part of the year fighting at the woman’s side and is now finding it difficult to leave without her. Rautu therefore extends the invitation to return to Sanhedhran to the commander and she readily accepts. However, when they reach Sanhedhran, they witness an attack on their shores by the neighboring Thellisian Empire that will change the relationship between Frewyn and Sanhedhran forever. The two warriors must now find a way to unite their people against the Thellisian threat or perish under the banner of their adversaries.
6) Where on the shelf would this book go?
This part is important for those who are trying to sell your novel. They need to know where your book would fit and how to market it. Even if your book is the most original and unique story ever, try to find a few books that would match the genre.
“The Commander and the Den Asaan Rautu” would fit in well with other romance fantasy titles such as Mercedes Lackey's "Arrow" series.
Now they need a piece to assess your story. Follow whatever whom you're sending it to stipulates: usually ten pages or the first 3 chapters.
Below are the first ten pages of the novel for your consideration.
8) Sign Off
Thanks and all the best,
That's it! Super simple. Now you ask: how effective was this letter? I got 5 acceptances. I got rejections too, of course, but everyone does.