Monday, June 05, 2006

Query Example

Here is an example of the type of e-mail query we would like to receive in regard to structure. If you use this format for a regular mail query, remember to include an inside address and date and adjust the content accordingly. Also, please note this same structure can be used in a cover letter that goes with a resume; people have gotten jobs using this same form with the appropriate information substituted.

Dear Ms. Joneson:

I am writing to submit for your consideration my 90,000-word adult mainstream novel, GREAT LOVE LOST, in which fate pits two sisters against each other as they battle for the love of one dedicated physician fighting an epidemic no one realizes exists.

GREAT LOVE LOST is the story of two sisters in love with the same man who don’t realize it until a fateful encounter at a mortuary. The ensuing chaos drives one sister, Jess, to attempt suicide, and the other, Lia, to join the Peace Corps. Fate strikes again as the man, a doctor, is sent to a conference on SARS in China, where Lia is stationed, and their passion is rekindled. However, their love is once again challenged when a threatening letter from Jess arrives, and Lia contracts SARS shortly thereafter.

My previous publishing credits include: LIES, MORE LIES, THEN SOME CHEATING, a mainstream novel published in 2002 by Rose Heart Publishing, an imprint of Lemon Slice Books; LOVE IN SUMMER, another mainstream novel, and its sequel, LOVE IN WINTER, published in 1999 and 2001, respectively, by Doubledog Press; and finally, LOVE TO LOVE YOU, another mainstream novel that will be released in 2008 from Major Publisher Press.

I appreciate the opportunity to have you review my novel, GREAT LOVE LOST, for possible representation. Thank you for your time and consideration; I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Ima Writer


DanStrohschein said...

This is awesome - a great structure. I am bookmarking this link and will be sending it on to other fellow writers who wish to publish.

Thank you!

Jude said...

Looks professional.Thanks for the tips as always

Anonymous said...

I notice you call the mythical title here "adult mainstream" not "romance". Is this more likely to get your attention?

What about Chick Lit? Is it over? Would the humorous adventures of a single female protagonist be better marketed as "adult mainstream" than "Chick Lit"?

Anonymous said...

I believe the author of this query letter used mainsteam because it is more generic than using a specific genre.

Call what you have written what it is. If it's mainstream call it mainstream, but understand what mainsteam is. In other words, as stated earlier on this blog, know what you've written. Calling a mystery a romance because romances are selling will not win you representation.
Chick lit has pretty much bit the dust for new writers that area. Most of those who will write here have already been discovered. Whether this area of romance is dead, only time will tell.
Mainsteam is a difficult sell so labeling something mainstream will impede a sale rather than enhance it. If you write chick lit, try chick lit mysteries as they are still viable as humorous cozies.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that very funny query post.

tommi said...

Gee, is this part of the reason there is so much formulated writing on book shelves? Write a query as though it were a cover letter to a resume? You mean, of course, like the corporate-professional world out there which is full of so much integrity and creativity?
You've got to be kidding...
On the other hand, as a desperate wannabe writer I guess I must subject myself to this... I guess. Oh how I love the remains of the cookies that have crumbled.

Anonymous said...


I was also shocked to wake up one morning and find that it wasn't all about me. As any writer knows(or should know), the author stays out (no authorial intrusion)of his or her work. The same is true of the query--stay out of it--it's all about the book. Readers don't want to read about you unless you are writing a very interesting memoir. The author stays invisable in most writing. What does this tell you? That's right, people don't get a big shit about you. In fiction, they want to know about your characters because you aren't very interesting. Tough to take for those who have huge egos to feed.

La Fleur said...

Thank you for the query example! I have tried the 'hook' version and it did not work well for me. A business cover letter... That I understand, being an executive assistant. This I can do.

LOL... is the 'bad' query example for real? LOL

Thanks again for the template.

Wylie Merrick Literary said...

Dear LaFleur,

No the sample isn't real but it's actually better than most I receive. I fear that many who query are like Tommi above--so full of themselves and yet the first to complain when everyone in the world rejects their query. My advice is keep it simple and straight forward. Save your creativity for your novel where it's more appreciated. Also take the advice of Anonymous above and stay out of your query and your novel. We want to know about the book and in the novel, we care about the characters, not the author. Writing is a lonely, solitary, and not very rewarding life, so if you want to be a celebrity try acting.

La Fleur said...

Joy of joys! I used the format presented on your blog and reconstructed my query letter. It makes more sense to me. However, I will research a few more agents and submit and see if I get any bites. I understand what my novel is about, hopefully now the will too, enough so to take a look.

I will let you know how it goes. I have also posted the query on my blog.

Thank you so much for providing this document. It means a lot to me.


La Fleur said...

I just read your response to my earlier post. Thank you for you advice! I just want to learn how to do this the right way. I am not accomplished in this art. I am still learning. One thing I have learned, if you are going to do this, you must have a tough skin and take the critcism offered. Would Grasshopper tell his Sensai that he is wrong? LOL

Anonymous said...

What if you have no previous publishing credits? Should you say so in the query letter or by 'keeping quiet' is it automatically assumed you have none?

Wylie Merrick Literary said...


It's assumed that you don't have publishing credits if you don't mention them, however, if are published, please let us know who published your work and when it was published.