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Writing Books/Query letters to agents

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Question
Hello, its me again, thanks a lot for responding to my last question.

I know about query letters, how they are to be short and to the point. However, I wondering if you could give me an example of a great query letter for a fiction novel to an agent that can attract their attention, I understand if you dont work in fiction .

Thanks once again for your time and knowlege.

~J

Answer
J -

Actually, I work pretty much exclusively in fiction!  Check out my latest:  http://onenationundergod.info

But your question, unfortunately, isn't the easiest thing to answer, because there isn't just a simple boilerplate query you should do for a novel.

Yes, queries should be short and to the point, but more importantly, they should capture the editor or agent's attention.  Your query letter should ideally be seen as a sort of extension of the book itself.  For example, you might write the query in a style like that of your novel.  If your book is action packed, you might want to make your query have a similar breathless feel to it.  If your novel is witty, consider making your query witty as well.

Now, you do need to be careful.  You don't want to make the query so over-the-top that it seems cheesy.  Sure, it might seem like a great idea to throw a few rose petals in with a query letter for the romance you've written... but what if it takes four or five days for your letter to travel - in hot weather - before reaching its destination?  What'll those petals look like when the letter is opened?  If they're dry, shriveled, ugly things... you've just shot yourself in the foot.

One other thing you should include in your query that most of the guides out there don't tell you: flattery.  It goes a long way.  If you're querying an agent, for example, he/she might well be impressed if you mention other books they've represented, and that you were impressed with the deals they arranged for the author(s).  Don't know this stuff?  You can find out.  You might consider using the services of these folks: http://www.agentresearch.com/

Hope that's helpful!

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Vincent M. Wales

Expertise

I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.

Experience

For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

Education/Credentials
BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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