I have just sent my first few email queries to literary agents. And my heart is pounding. A little. It has begin, the process of selling my novel, of putting my words out there, of asking professionals to pass judgment upon my endeavors! I should be hearing a response within three weeks for these e-queries. If they like them, are intrigued by my premise, they’ll ask for the first ten pages or so. Then, if they like those, they might ask for the first three chapters, and then finally, the whole manuscript.
AND THEN I’LL BE RICH!!!!!!!!!!!
Or not. But at least I’ll be well on my way to realizing my dreams. Ah! To dream the impossible dream!
But what, I hear you asking, is a query? Of what does your query consist of? A query, dear readers, is a most challenging and terrible thing to compose. It must be short. Succinct. It must both display your skills as a writer and entice the agent to want more. You must show that there is a plot, but not write a synopsis, you must display a powerful hook, identify your hero, villain, and twist, but not belabor the point. To write a powerful, excellent query is a craft that many devote weeks, years to. I have devoted but two days, but I believe that mine is a winner. Here it is:
CRUDE SUNLIGHT is a 90,000 word urban fantasy novel about the shadowy horrors that dwell in the interstices of a Rust Belt city.
Thomas’ younger brother Henry has gone missing. The only clue as to his fate is a disturbing video he made while breaking into the abandoned State Asylum. The tape ends with Henry’s being tormented by a figure whom emerges impossibly from a basement wall. Shocked, Thomas begins to uncover terrifying new clues that Henry is but the latest casualty in a long line of disappearances that stretches back centuries. Enlisting the aid of his brother’s acerbic and disconcertingly attractive ex-girlfriend, he resolves to locate Henry and in so doing both redeem himself and confront the malignant force that lurks in the heart of the city.
CRUDE SUNLIGHT is a character driven novel. The characters are beset by darkness as much as from within as without, and it is their attempts to master themselves as well as their enemies that raises the stakes. Regular people faced with terrifying opposition do not always respond heroically, but sometimes, when offered a chance at redemption, they may find themselves stepping up to the plate.
I am an English major from Amherst College, currently work at Penguin Group (USA), and have been a life long fan of speculative fiction.
The polished manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your consideration.
And that’s it. Almost two years worth of work, of writing, editing, revising, rethinking, plotting and replotting, cutting and pasting, arguing and debating, boiled down to about 150 words.
I’m also going to start mailing out queries to other agents who hold to the more traditional method, and all told will probably query about 8. Hopefully one of them will bite!