Friday, May 24, 2013

Query Letter ABCs

As previously stated, this week I've been busying myself by learning the unique art of writing query letters. For those of you who don't know, a query letter is basically a sales pitch to an agent or publishing agency. In a query letter you are to describe your book (tell them the basics about it: length, genre, structure) and try to pique their interest with a brief description. Tip: don't be modest! Be as loud and enthusiastic as you can be, but still be professional, don't use caps because, after all, no one likes to be shouted at. 

When I first learned about query letters, I was very nervous because it seemed like writing an exciting query letter was a gift given to only a chosen few. However, upon further reading, I discovered that actually, query letter writing is an art that can be mastered with practice! Query letter writing has a structure and a do and don't list--much like an essay or a book report! I'll be the first to say that I am no expert in writing these letters, but I am willing to share what little knowledge I have in the hopes that it will help other authors in their pursuit of publication! 

So without further adieu, put on your thinking caps and let's get started! 

Part One: Structure

Like everything else in writing, query letters have a structure. Parts of this structure can be interchanged of course, because their actually are a lot of parts and some agents and or publishers may ask pacifically for certain parts, but the basic structure is as follows.

1) The address

At the very first part of a query letter you must acknowledge who you are trying to reach. Always address queries to a specific person. Tip: names can usually be found on the publisher/agent's website. There they will tell you exactly what that particular person is looking to publish/represent (sci-fi, fantasy, Y/A, children's, thriller, and so on.). Remember to be professional and address your chosen subject with a very respectful attitude! Never be too casual!

2) Basics

This is where you give your reader a brief glimpse at your novel. Here you will state the length, genre, and subject matter (do so especially if the publisher is interested in fantasy and your book is a fantasy novel!). Also, try to relate your work to others. If your style mimics Suzanne Collins's, then say so! It gives the editor an idea of what they are getting!


My 53,000 word novel Happy Whovian is a psychologically intense thriller in the same style as James Patterson with the supernatural elements (this is where you can hint at what genre/subject matter the book has) a la Stephanie Meyer. 

3) Book Jacket

Have you ever picked up a book solely from what the book jacket described it as? Of course you have! Book jackets give readers a glimpse into the story and pique their interest. The same is true in a query letter! To help pique your readers interest before you describe the story to them, think about how you would like your book described on a book jacket and then put it down! If done correctly, this will make your editor want to read the synopsis and see what your story is all about! 


Benedict Holmes is at the top of the police force in Hogwarts, Ohio, but that's until a late night murder in the city's Half Blood high school is linked back to him. Armed with only his sharp wit, Benedict must find a way to prove to both his colleagues, the victim's family, and the love of his life, that he is innocent. But a dark power moves in the shadows and conspires to not only destroy Ben, but the people he loves as well. 

4) The Synopsis

This is a fairly easy enough part, you know your story; now you just have to tell it, only in a very condensed form.

The synopsis is what really helps to sell your book, it tells your reader exactly what they are getting, so be exciting! All of my sources have said to give it an 'on the edge' feel and remember that you are trying to sell your story! So be bold!


Benedict Holmes has a secret; one that could destroy everything he loves if it ever came to light. Centuries ago, his family were warlocks, an ancient group of enhanced humans given the task of killing all otherworldly creatures and protecting the human realm. But that was before the accords were signed, declaring peace between all worldly and otherwise creatures. Since that time Warlocks have become known as war criminals and Ben has dedicated over twenty two years to hiding his heritage, but when a late night murder at Hogwarts Ohio's Half Blood High School is linked back to Ben, he's thrown into a world he never wanted to enter. 

Pursued by the victims angry and vengeful brother, Loki Haig, Ben must escape Hogwarts and discover the truth behind the murder. However, his plans are thrown awry when he meets a talented young witch named Lily Severus who claims to know about his family's secret, and about the murder. Joining forces, Lily and Ben escape into the Misty Mountains, but Loki isn't far behind. 

Upon arriving, Ben is greeted by the dwarf king, Bilbo the Grey, who reveals to him that his family's past enemies may now be conspiring to eliminate the last of the Warlocks and rule over the human world. Faced with the destruction of all he loves, Ben must take up his rightful duty and not only protect his world, but redeem his family.

5) This is Why

This is where you tell your reader why your book is special and what qualifies it for their consideration. This doesn't mean that you tell them your book should be published because it's 'awesome'. 


Attack of the Monster Shew should fit well with your other titles, such as Monster Garbage Man and The Hamburger that Ate a Man. Your website mentioned science fiction as a current interest, so I hope that this is a good match. 

6) Mention Your Credentials

Editors, agents and publishers are more likely to look at a writer who has already done some professional work, so if you have written something and had it published previously then mention it! If not, then leave out your 'writer's bio', you don't have to tell them that you are a first time, they'll figure it out. Besides, this leaves more space for your synopsis in case it runs long!

7) Thank Your Editor

Always remember to thank who ever is reading your letter. After all, they've taken the time out of their schedule to do so. Always try to be respectful, professional and courteous in your dealings with editors, agents and publishers! You don't have to be overly gushy, just keep it nice, simple and polite. 


Thank your for considering Super Hero in the Works


Paul Coulson
82 Thor Road
Potter, New York, 98009

Part Two: Read!

Whenever submitting things for publication, make sure you have read the submission guidelines thoroughly. Each publishing agency has its own list of dos and don'ts that authors must meet or, in most cases, they won't even read your letter. So be careful to do your research because what's right for one agency may not be right for another.

Part Three: Research the Market

The market changes from year to year and publishers and agents wants and needs change as well. Keep up with what's 'trending' and what certain agencies want. It's not that hard to find out because they will tell you either on their website or in the most recent edition of The Writer's Market. Utilizing tools such as The Writer's Market and the internet will help you find what publisher or agent is right for you! 

Part Four: Rejection

Every author gets rejected, even J.K. Rowling! Just remember that rejection is not a personal attack! A publisher or agent may turn your work down for many different reasons, but that doesn't mean that you are a bad writer or that your work is horrible! Take rejection with a pinch of salt, and remember to never be rude to an editor, publisher or agent in retaliation! Doing so can have a ripple effect, where one agent may tell another about his or her's bad experience with you, therefore damaging your professional image! 

Part Five: Be Prepared to Work Hard

Nothing worth doing is easy, so be prepared for a long haul when it comes to trying to get published! In many ways, getting published is harder than writing! Finding the right agent or publisher could take months of research, rejection slips and editing! But it is do-able! Not to sound cliche, but keep working hard, trust in the Lord and eventually you will see the results! 

I hope that this post was a help to someone! Again, I am not an expert. I'm just sharing a few tips I've found through my reading and studying! If you have any questions let me know and I'll do my best to answer them!

Thanks for reading!

Your blogger,


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

List of Agents

Well, change of plans, I've decided that I will be looking for an agent to represent my book!
I've discovered that there actually are a LOT of agents who will read a proposal for your book, and even the manuscript, for free! (These are legitimate agents people! :D ) I've since decided to send in a query ( a letter talking about my book) to a few agents and see what responses I get.
I used the 2013 Writer's Market to find a total of sixteen agents--though I am sure I will need more and I have already sought out another source of literary agents for further guidance. (The 2013 Guide to Literary Agents) But in the meantime I will be learning to write a query to send to potential agents. I'll make sure to post about it and let everyone know about the dos and donts (which I have yet to learn)!
Also, for all you writers who are ready to start looking into publication, I strongly recommend the Writer's Market 2013 (most recent version) book! It gives you all the information you could ever want to know about book publishing, writing, editing and agents! So far, I've found it very helpful and informative! It's really saved me from stumbling around in the dark!
I've picked out three agencies that I really like, but I know that I probably won't get a "Yes we'd love to represent you' in return. First off I'm unpublished, so things are very difficult in that arena, and it just takes a long time to find the right person to represent you--and who wants to! Right now I just want to see if an agent even thinks the book is marketable right now, which I really hope it is. I may include this in my query, but I'm not sure.
I've learned a few things though. 1) Agent's DON'T respond immediately, they take a few weeks or months to do so, depending on the size of their agency. 2) They don't usually want manuscripts, they want queries, as mentioned previously. If they like your letter, then they will ask to see the completed work, past that I'm unsure.
Also, the 2013 Writer's Market said that you should start a platform, or a fan base for your work. Writers should create hype for their book, but that's after its been accepted I'm sure. I'm still reading about that. Next time I visit the library I will study more on that as well as look for more agents.  
Next on the 'To Do List' is print the book and give it to a few test readers, while simultaneously choosing a few agencies and practicing writing a query. As mentioned before, I've found three that I think I will start with, but first things first, get the story to the test readers and write a query! :)
But I have been doing some things other than writing, just for a brief vacation I guess you could say.
My aunt has gotten her in ground pool up and running and we will be heading over there this weekend. Jessie and I are already getting ready! My preparations included getting a new bathing suit that I really like. I won't post pics cause it's a bikini (yes I finally got one) but I have officially started sun bathing to try and get a tan before pool days! Seriously, I'm really pale! Not that I want to look like a piece of leather, but I just want a nice little tan.
So today I spent a hour reading 'Beautiful Creatures' while listening to Eisley and the Civil Wars--and txting my friends Hannah and Jessie. However it wasn't a complete vacation, I did sneak in a previously printed version of my work to review and edit--heh heh, I guess my mind wouldn't let me completely escape just yet!
Oh well, at least I've started a tan and I'm looking forward to another hour in the sun tomorrow. But I must say, I will probably need some new songs on my MP3 player--I've listened to the old ones a hundred times! 0_0
Oh, and before I forget, please check out my new 'non writing' blog at
But be warned, my complete weirdness is going to really show there!
Also, I've created a Twitter account (with my pen name, sorry!) and the link is in the side bar near the top! Please stop by and say hey! :D
That's all for now!
Your blogger,

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My Little List of Publishers.

And believe me, it's a short list.
My mother, my sweet and AMAZING mom, got me a writer's market book so I could--yes you heard me--start looking for publishers!
I believe that my book has reached a point where it is ready to, at least, take its first baby step out into the real world.
But you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a publisher for young adult. You wouldn't think that would be too big of a problem but believe me it is! Especially since I'm an unpublished author who doesn't have an agent. I doubt highly I will be able to get an agent and go to some of the big name publishers right off the bat, but maybe, if I can get this series published, I can move up! :)
I've found at least three that I really like, one of them sounds really really good, but I'm very skeptical and picky. Just a quick note: I don't care about money. I just want a publisher who will market my story well and give it the best possible chance, money isn't a big deal. As long as people actually get to read my story, and maybe even like it, I'm happy. I don't want to be the author of a five and dime novel that ends up in the thrift store. :( I'd like to have a book that stood out--doesn't have to be Hunger Games big--it just has to hold it's own.
But yes, there, I've announced it in so many words. I'm in the first stage of trying to get a book published. So far, God has graced me with giving me my list of possible publishers, and hopefully he will continue to bless me as I travel down the road I feel he has lead me on. There will be rough seas ahead as I get the rejection slips that come to any author--but with God's grace, help and provision I will see this project through and (hopefully) be blessed.
Thanks so much for your continued support and I hope that you will continue to read and keep up with the progress. I'll write about the process of publication more in the following months--hopefully I'll be able to find something that other authors can use as well!
Please PRAY for me, the book, and the publishing process. Please pray that I can find a good, trust worthy publisher who will help me all they can; who will give my book the best shot it can have and that the book will, ultimately, be published! Also please pray that I don't got out of my mind! :D
As always, any and all advice or tips are welcome! If you have something that might help me in this journey, or that might help others, SPEAK UP! We authors have to stick together! :D
Thanks again!
Your blogger,

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book One: Draft Six Complete!

Hey there, the few Just Me readers!
I just wanted to pop in and tell you that as of today: May 16th 2013, I have officially finished Draft Six of Book One! :D Yes, there was a draft four and a draft five that were stretched out over my four months of college, but now Draft Six (which was completed in a month) is now done! It rocks the scale at 482 pages and 87,369 words! :D There are fifty eight chapters, but believe it or not, this book is shorter than the other drafts! 0_0 Part of Draft Five's purpose was to shorten the story, and Draft Six just took it a little bit further.
There are three parts to this story, and I just finished re-writing Part Three. The first two parts have been 'pulled fairly straight' (meaning I got most the tangles out of it), but the last part just wasn't doing it for me. It wasn't realistic, plus it was very long and boring. I thought that shortening it and making the action a little more life threatening really helped! Too bad I leave my readers with a huge cliff hanger, oh well...that's what we writers live for!
Now it's time to finally hand the book over to test readers. I have a few lined up for sure, so I'm very happy and grateful for that! I just need to get the MASSIVE amount of paper and ink to print this sucker! Once my test readers have given me their opinions of the story I will try and do some more editing based off of their compiled suggestions. Past that point, I'm not really sure what editing projects I will undertake. Perhaps it's time for a new and VERY important step?
God has really blessed me these past couple of days with my writing by helping me get my projects done WAY ahead of schedule, as well as providing me with inspiration and the answers to several problems! :D I'm trusting completely in him as I hand this work over, for the first time, to virgin eyes! I'm trusting that he will help me to fix any problems that may arise within my book and that he will bless the new road I'm traveling on!
Thanks so much to all of you who have stayed with this blog through the years, you mean the world to me!
Please, if you have any questions or comments let me know!
Your ever excited blogger,

New Blog

Hey everyone.

Just wanted to make a quick post and say that I have started a new blog.

If you want to follow--please visit:

WARNING: I will be REALLY nerdy on this blog.

I am sad to leave this blog...but I don't think it fits me anymore and I want something new. I don't know. I will post here occasionally--only writing things--but for personal things go to my new blog.

Please no hate on the new blog.

Thanks so much, you are awesome and I will miss you guys!