Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sample Query Letter - Fiction


(SAMPLE QUERY LETTER -- Remember the best query letters are NEVER more than two pages long. Try to stick to one page. Letter should be single-spaced, and you should try to hook the agent from the very beginning. Remember to focus on your manuscript, what it's about, why it's unique, and what makes it worth publishing. You should also compare to other books on the market so the agent can quickly get a feel for what kind of book you've written so as to decide if they want to read it. Also, let them know how long the manuscript is -- not how many pages but how many words. That's how manuscripts are measured. And finally, tell them something about you, and why you're qualified to write this book. If you've never written anything before, don't bother mentioning that . . . just say that you love to write and completing your novel has been an enjoyable endeavor or something. Oh! And one more important thing . . . most agents now accept query letters via email. THE RULE IS, THOUGH; SEND THE QUERY IN THE BODY OF THE EMAIL, AND NOT AS AN ATTACHMENT!!!!!!!!!)

Dear Ms. ________,
It wasn't that Regina Harris wanted to be a Harlem street woman, she simply had no choice. Orphaned at 13, and with an infant niece to support, she becomes a shoplifter and a "professional girlfriend" to make ends meet. But when she's shot, and almost killed, while hanging out with a cocaine dealer, Regina turns her life around. She goes back to school, graduates from college, and begins a successful journalism career.
Now at 26, the beautiful, witty and articulate Regina seems to have it all. Gucci shoes, a glamorous career, and a snazzy apartment on New York's Upper West Side -- but still, she cant quite get Harlem out of her blood, and she struggles to deal with two lives. She dines at fancy downtown restaurants with editors from The New York Times one night, and bar-hops in Harlem with her homegirls the next.
While partying with them at a club one night she meets, Charles Whitfield, 26, a snobbish upper-middle class young man from Philadelphia, who looks down on what he considers the lower-class. The sparks fly between the two when he puts down her girlfriends, but eventually they fall in love. They marry, but Reginas past comes back to haunt them when Charles decides to run for the U. S. Congress.
I would like to submit my novel, Satin Doll, to you for representation. Though I have read many books which deal with the experiences of professional African American women, none have addressed the struggles of a successful woman from a humble -- and criminal -- background, who struggles to fit into a world that snubs its nose at people who make their living on the street. In fact, I might even say that Satin Doll has much in common with Terry McMillan's blockbuster novel, Waiting to Exhale, but Satin Doll is grittier, and deals with characters that are on a different socio-economic level. I know that readers who enjoyed that book would Satin Doll.
I am a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, but I am originally from Harlem, and I've enjoyed writing Satin Doll, my first novel. I would love to send you a copy of the complete manuscript of Satin Doll, which runs 83,000 words. If you prefer, I can send you the first three chapters of my 14-chapter book along with a full-synopsis.
You can reach me at work at (215) ___-_____or by e-mail at _______. I hope to hear from you soon.
Sincerely yours,

Karen E. Quinones Miller
(How To Write A Query Letter - Fiction copyrighted by Karen E. Quinones Miller, 2010)

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