This is my Query. There are many queries like it, but this one is mine. (writing advice #592783 1/3)


This is my Query. There are many queries like it, but this one is mine.

Ok, firstly, why am I writing this? I get a lot of my prepublished friends ask for my advice on their queries. I am glad to help. What do I know about queries?  They are hard, and the process gets harder every day. I don’t even have an agent.

You read that right. I am unagented. I sent my query in various forms to over 50 agents and every one of them took a pass. I got a lot of requests for partials, and synopsis’s ((sp?) I mean really, what is the plural of synopsis?), and pages but they all passed. I found a list of editors who accept direct email queries, sent the one to the editor who was interested in my genre and in less than 60 days had an offer for three books with one of the biggest and best publishing houses.

Here goes my query so you can see what worked for me.

First though, here are some general bits of advice.

1) Make it snappy. Not stupid like a high concept elevator pitch that has a thick layer of cheese on it, but a quick, entertaining sum up for your manuscript. I think of it as the same thing that would be blurbed on the back cover to get a customer to buy your book in a bookstore.  You have to get to the point though, technology is not your friend. Most agents now are reading (skimming) queries on their smart phones so you have literally 2-5 lines to get their attention before they ditch you for the next one in their que.  You have to stand out because you will not be the first query read in the que nor will you be the last. You do NOT want to blend into the stream of words being skimmed through. So get it done and get it done quick. Stick and move my friend.

2) Know your role. Do not query a work that is not finished. Do not mention work that is unpublished. Put in any achievements you have made in publishing. You got something published, even for free on the internet, go ahead and put it in. Won an award for your writing, got a scholarship from your writing, sure go for it, but remember, you have to not waste time. Agents do not care if you are not published. They like finding new authors. That is one of the reasons they got into the business they are in. So don’t fluff. You wrote a good book, query that book. If it is strong enough then you will make the cut.

3) Querying sucks. It sucks in the worst way possible. So you have to put on your big girl panties and turn off your tear ducts and do the work. You will be rejected. Don’t argue. It is unbecoming. Just pick yourself up and query the next person.

4) Get your ass back to writing. Don’t get consumed by querying. Send out a certain number every day and other than that get back to work. You have a new idea, a different idea, some story knocking on the door of your insanity in your head that wants to be alchemically set free on paper. Go work your magic.

So here you go, Enjoy!

Dear Agent/Editor,

Since hunting down the monster who took the lives of his wife and children five years ago, occult bounty-hunter Deacon Chalk has lived by only one rule.

He does not work for the monsters. He kills them.

So why would a vampire try to hire him as protection against another monster hunter? After enforcing his only rule Deacon goes to meet the target, a vampire slayer named Nyteblade. Professional courtesy demands he tell this Nyteblade the vampires are hiring people to kill him. Deacon finds the vampire slayer waiting in an alley.

Waiting to stake him.

He discovers that Nyteblade is a bumbling, fumbling, wanna-be instead of a badass vampire hunter. Someone who needs saving from monsters instead of the other way around. This is proven when a horde of vampires descend and he has to escape while trying to keep Nyteblade alive.

Someone has set Deacon up. Someone wants him dead.

Someone should have sent more vampires.

Bound and determined, Deacon will find out who tried to kill him no matter how many bloodsuckers, were-spiders, cursed immortals, undead strippers, or insanely powerful hell-bitches he has to wade through.

At just over 81,000 words BLOOD AND BULLETS is a concisely written, action-packed, dark urban fantasy tale. It is set in a rich and varied supernatural world and contains a new origin for vampires involving the Crucifixion and the Spear of Destiny.

It will appeal to fans of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, and the television show Supernatural.

This is the first book of a series. The full manuscript, plot synopsis, and sample chapters are available immediately upon request. BLOOD AND CLAW, book two is being written at this time with books three and four outlined and plotted.

Thank you so very much for your time,

James R. Tuck

See Loyals and True Believers? I greeted the Agent/Editor (use their name not the generic title), hooked them in with a strong two line set up, kept their attention by hitting the highest points of my plot in the same voice as my book, and closed out telling them that:

a) My book is sellable and there are folks out there who will like it and giving them a quickie comparison so they know what style book I am presenting.

b) My manuscript is complete, ready to go, and available if they want it.

c) I am pitching a series and not only am I pitching it, but I am preparing to be professional and deliver it.

So go forth, query widely, get rejected, and find the agent or editor who can make your dreams come true.

Until then, write well.

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