My Query Letter Evolution

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I’m going to make this brief. I enjoy writing books, but over the years I’ve learned to hate blogging. That aside, this post is about my query letter struggles. I’ve been working on a query letter for my novel The Warrior from Monde for about a year. I’ve purchased books on how to write a query and joined author forums on the topic. I’ve also paid a freelance editor to help me with one — only to find that his suggestions had to be completely scrapped. Finally, I paid Writer’s Digest on several occasions in an attempt to unlock the secrets of a good query letter. Each agent that was assigned to me from WD had different suggestions. This left me confused and out about $200. I’m done with blowing money on the endeavor. My readers have enjoyed my novel. But I’m sure they would have hated all my query letter attempts.

I hate query letters (I know . . . so original, right?). It’s truly subjective. When an agent states that he/she wants “to be drawn in”, that’s all based on what interests them on an individual level. What it all comes down to is finding someone like yourself — the person who wrote the book. Someone who is entertained by the same stuff you’re entertained by. Dwelling over the query letter for too long can cripple a writer. Knowing this, I’ve concluded that less is more. See below for one of my old query letters, and my new query letter version. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Earlier this year (with the help of Writer’s Digest):

I visited your agency website and read that you’re interested in fiction works. My novel The Warrior from Monde is a sci-fi romance that is set in fictional eighteenth century Europe. The story centers on two generations of love, power, and a mystery that affects an empire. The completed novel has a word count of 133,000 words, and is likely to appeal to fans of Emperor: The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden and The Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. I’ve attached the first fifty pages of my manuscript to this e-mail.

Rima Hatuni is a young woman who flees from her homeland to escape war. She finds herself in Monde, a country unfamiliar to her, and she has an encounter with a man-like creature who leaves her pregnant. She’s forced to remain in Monde and faces raising her son, Lucian, in squalor. That is until Fabien Chevalier, the king of Monde’s strong-arm, discovers Rima while on duty for his majesty. Seized by her beauty, he captures her and is intent on keeping her as a possession. She’s fearful of him and for the future of herself and her son. But it’s Lucian’s inborn powers that determines their fate and the fate of Monde itself.

Rima marries Fabien, and Lucian is raised as a warrior in a world of politics, religious contention, and spies. His superhuman strength and superior intelligence make him a celebrity, and he’s celebrated by the king of Monde. But the king’s ally, the pious and powerful King Gaspar of Dubark, views the praise of the boy as a religious affront.

At a tournament held between empires, Lucian is the main attraction. He defeats challengers with no need to touch them. This does not sit well with spectators, particularly, King Gaspar, who believes Lucian’s abilities are unnatural and perhaps evil. But, in this, Gaspar sees an opportunity to enforce religious doctrine.

Amid growing tensions between the kings, Lucian learns of his mother’s kidnapping by his beloved stepfather, and nearly kills him. King Verlaine is forced to punish Lucian. And soon after, King Gaspar launches an attack on Monde. But when a being more powerful than any king arrives in search of Lucian, the question of who’s good and who’s evil is unclear. Will Lucian learn why he was born with his abilities? And what will become of the empire?

I’m a member of Author Salon, The San Antonio Writer’s Guild, and San Antonio’s Novel Writing, Publishing and Marketing Group. I have run a fitness blog for the past seven years, and I continue to help readers to this day.

October 2015 (Screw those suggestions from everyone else):

I read on your agency website that you represent romance. My novel The Warrior from Monde is a paranormal romance that is set in fictional eighteenth century Europe. The story centers on two generations of love, power, and a mystery that affects an empire. The completed novel has a word count of 133,000 words, and is likely to appeal to fans of Emperor: The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden and The Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind.

Rima Hatuni is a young woman who flees from her homeland to escape war. She finds herself in Monde, a country unfamiliar to her, and she has an encounter with a man-like creature who leaves her pregnant. She’s forced to remain in Monde and faces raising her son, Lucian, in squalor. That is until Fabien Chevalier, the king of Monde’s strong-arm, discovers Rima while on duty for his majesty. Seized by her beauty, he captures her and is intent on keeping her as a possession. She’s fearful of him and for the future of herself and her son. But it’s Lucian’s inborn powers that determines their fate and the fate of Monde itself.

I’m a member of Author Salon, The San Antonio Writer’s Guild, and San Antonio’s Novel Writing, Publishing and Marketing Group. I have run a fitness blog for the past seven years, and I continue to help my subscribers to this day.

So, readers, what do you think?

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