Friday, July 5, 2013

My Thoughts on Writing a Query Letter

It's a freakin roller coaster of emotion.  An hour ago, I was thinking about writing a blog post about how doubtful I am now about my book and the whole idea of my book.  All because I was getting more bad feedback on my revised query letter on Agent Query Connect (that site is SO helpful for this).  Then, I rewrote the revision again and I feel so much better.  The newest revision, in my opinion, is way more fitting of my actual vision of the book.

Here's my newest revision:

Dear Agent (or, more likely, agent's unpaid intern),

Seventeen-year-old Melanie Foster has never had a reason not to trust her parents. Not until they’re kidnapped and she finds out that they’ve been hiding something from her all her life.

After being taken to safety, Melanie learns several extremely shocking pieces of information. First, her parents are scientists that discovered a new planet capable of sustaining human life. Second, they’ve been hiding from people who want this information bad enough to kill for it.  Third, after years of searching, these people have found and kidnapped her parents. And finally, humans didn’t originate on this Earth, and neither did her parents.

Struggling to accept the fact that her Earth is really the Third Earth discovered and populated by humans in a process known as the Earths Project, Melanie focuses on the only thing that’s keeping her sane-finding and saving her parents.

But in order to do that, Melanie must travel to the dangerous and unstable Second Earth, a planet that seceded from the Earths Project, wasted their natural resources, and bred an entire population of deceitful liars. With spies close enough to win over Melanie’s heart then break it in half, she learns the hard way that it’s impossible to know who she can trust to help her along the way.

Earths Project:  Book One, First Earth is the first in a series of YA Adventure/Sci-Fi novels and is complete at 82,000 words.  

Thank you for your consideration. 

so  I don't even have any feedback yet, which is exactly why I'm in such a better mood.  I'm ignorantly enjoying the fact that I really like this query.  I can imagine potential agents also liking it.  Loving it, in fact, enough to request my full manuscript.

BUT...this is a short-lived emotion on the roller coaster ride.  In about a day, when I get one or two people responding to my query, giving me advice, pointing out parts of the query that just simply don't make sense or are way too vague and not mentioning once that they think the premise sounds good and that it'll make for an interesting book (which most other query editing posts that might be the most disheartening part of this whole thing), I'll be on the slow uphill anxiety-driven part of the coaster again.

It's rough, I'm not gonna lie, but it makes me feel more legit when I read all about writing query letters and discover that I'm not the only one who thinks this is the most grueling part of the whole process.  It's harder than writing the book...harder even than editing the damn thing (which is a real bitch of a process in itself).  Not because it's difficult to write the pitch, but because I'm so familiar with my story and the characters that I can hardly think straight when I'm rereading my small 250 word query for the 30th time.  And this is it...the front of the line when it comes to showing an agent I have something worth reading.  So if I can't get this SPOT ON...I'm doomed.

It's definitely daunting.

So, I guess I'll go reread it again for the 31st time.


  1. Hang in there.. I know EXACTLY how you feel. Writing a query letter is a bitch and I too, took advice from members at ACQ Connect. However, the feedback I got from writers was mixed and I sometimes didn't agree with some of the suggestions. At the end, I ended up editing (completely by myself) and reducing my query because I felt the less, the better.

    What I'm saying is, it felt impossible to sum up an entire novel in one page but I was able to condense my query to one paragraph. It was simple but it was right to the point. Another author told me to use this formula:

    "This is So and So, this is the situation, this is the conflict."

    I'm not suggesting you cram everything into one paragraph, but that you keep it as brief as possible. Go over it and trim out any unnecessary fat. If you can afford to leave something out, do it.

    Hope this helps somewhat and don't give up.

    1. Thank you very much! I will take that advice when I get my three rejections from the three agents I queried this weekend (of course, I'll remain ridiculously hopeful until I hear back from them). I am definitely sure I can take out some extra stuff and I completely agree with you about your thoughts on AQC.