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  • Writer's pictureDan

The Diabolical Query Letter Rev. 2


After reading my query letter to the writer’s guild, I quickly figured out it’s closer to horseshit than not. As you may recall from my first post, I was afraid that was the case to begin with. I’m happy to say, the query letter I’ve whipped out since the reading is a hell of a lot better. It still might be closer to a 1 than a 10, but it’s a vast improvement. I mean HUGE.

Basically, using the constructive criticism I received, I built upon the advice I found on Jane Friedman’s site and others. I think there were two fairly significant issues with my first query letter:

  1. My summary of the plot was too long and too much like a “mini synopsis”. To alleviate this problem I, at the advice of some guild members, studied that jackets of some of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy novels. Using these as inspiration, I quickly turned my “mini synopsis” into a catchy market-speak paragraph…errrmm, hopefully, it’s catchy.

  2. The second issue, which I believe is the lesser of the two, was the lack of comps. After some thought, I came up with a couple:

  • This is the one that I’m trying out in my latest query to an agent: “Solarflame combines the intrigue found in Frank Herbert’s Dune with the fantasy adventure of Robert Jordon’s Eye of the World.”

  • In the future, I may try this as an alternative: “Solarflame combines the intrigue found in Frank Herbert’s Dune with the gritty action of Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself.

We’ll see if either of these comps hook an agent.

Another suggestion was to take time to personalize the query for the agent. I’ve done this in the past after meeting an agent at a writing conference, but never when contacting an agent I found on the web. Luckily, with Twitter and blogs, it seems that many literary agents are quite open about what they’re looking for and this makes it easy to do a little bit of research on them. I’m trying it out. Fingers crossed this helps out.

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