Query Letters

I wrote this up for a workshop on query letters I gave somewhere sometime ago. I ran the class through the rules, gave them the sample query letter, and then made them write queries of their own.
And then we read them out loud.
And then I made ‘em do it again.


query letters — the rules

1 — Three, maximum four paragraphs. Keep it to one page.

2 — First paragraph, introduce yourself. If you met or corresponded with the editor before, say so here. If you’ve published before, say what here.

3 — Second paragraph, introduce the work you wish to sell.

4 — Third (optional) paragraph, identify potential markets.

5 — Fourth paragraph, say thanks, goodbye and get out.

6 — Oh, and did I mention? Keep it to one page.


query letters — a sample

POBox 123456
Pierre, South Dakota
wannabewriter@badlands.net
(701) 555-1212
October 16, 2003

Joan Editor
Huge, Gigantic Publishers
666 Madison Avenue
New York, New York

Dear Ms. Editor,

My name is Wendy Writer, and I am the author of the “Little House on the Prairie” murder mysteries, set in DeSmet, South Dakota in the late 1880’s and featuring crime-fighting schoolteacher Laura Ingalls. We met at Bouchercon last week.

This series will be an adult take on the well-known children’s series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As my series opens, Laura has just received her second-class teacher’s certificate and is taking leave of her family to take up a teaching position in a faraway town. The first day she arrives in her one-room schoolhouse, she finds the body of a student on the floor. Suspects include the drunken father, the crazed mother, a jealous classmate, a blackmailed minister, and a corrupt school superintendent.

The Little House on the Prairie murder mysteries will find an immediate market not only with fans of crime fiction but also of the Wilder books. Ma and Pa Ingalls will make appearances, as will Almanzo Wilder, Laura’s determined beau, and Almanzo’s sister and Laura’s enemy, Eliza Jane Wilder.

I have completed the first novel in the series, Little Body in the Big Woods, and I’m looking for a publisher. Would you like to take a look?

Thank you.

Wendy Writer

cc File

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“We were on the road again by 4 p.m., a section of highway with multiple personality disorder.”

Day 5: Watson Lake to Whitehorse

The next morning we visited the Signpost Forest, where at last count (2002) there are 49,777 signs nailed into tall wooden posts. A sampling:

COLORADO INTERSTATE 35
KANGAROO CROSSING
MANYBERRIES, ALBERTA
KITZBUHEL
GARY STRACEK CONST. / BROWERVILLE, MN
(if you live in Browerville and need a contractor, there you go)

Dana Stabenow. Alaska Traveler (Kindle Locations 2544-2548). Gere Donovan Press.

On Amazon US.

On Amazon UK.

On Barnes & Noble.

On Kobo.

On iBooks.


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Indoor plumbing, Silk Road style

With Persian bandits marauding this far east, the sooner they were behind caravanserai walls, the better.

Everything Under the Heavens

In Turkey, I saw my first caravanserai. It was built in the time of the Seljuks, but the caravanserais in Johanna’s time would have been similar. High, thick walls all the way around–you can see why it looked like safety to Wu Li.

caravanserai in Konya, Turkey

There was running water by way of a fountain in the central courtyard. Lodging for people and beasts were built into the walls.

caravanserai courtyard

Stables for camels, horses, donkeys. Plenty of room for even a large caravan.

caravanserai stables

And in the lodging for people, indoor plumbing. Water would have run through the trough to clear the waste.

caravanserai indoor plumbing

Efficient and healthy, although with my delicate twenty-first century nose I could only imagine the smell.

Everything Under the Heavens in audio download:

  • On Amazon.
  • On Audible.
  • On iTunes.

  • In e:

  • Amazon.US
  • Amazon.UK
  • Amazon.AU
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Kobo

  • In trade paperback.

  • The Silk and Song slideshow is here, and I’m going through it a slide or two at a time, with commentary, most Tuesdays here.
    Silk and Song glyph


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