Apr 13, 2009

Query- Midnight

Date

Agent Name-spelled-right
Literary Agency
Address
Address

Dear Agent Name-spelled-right,

Midnight is the first novel in a completed urban fantasy series. Life in rural 1985 Kentucky doesn't equate to simple life when Samantha Clark discovers that what she always believed was garden variety depression is genetically-inherited vampirism. As she struggles to leave behind a life of abuse and emotional disintegration, she also learns what it is to be a vampire--nothing like the books and movies--through the support and guidance of Jeremy, Steve, and her mentor Michael, all of whom share her genetic predisposition and have undertaken similar journeys. Not only does Sami awaken to her vampiric nature, but she also sheds her past perceptions of what she thought she had to be and discovers who she needs to be: her true self after all, in the arms of the Family she always longed for, as an unwanted child who never knew the truth of her roots, of her mother and father.

I grew up in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. My poetry and short stories have appeared in the Stories from the Red Light District anthology, the Aegri Somnia anthology, the upcoming Harlan County Horrors anthology, and the Help anthology. I am a member of the Toasted Cheese online writing community, a contributing editor for Apex Magazine, and an independent book reviewer and editor.

I declare that I am the author and sole owner of Midnight, and the Harlan Vampire Series as a whole, and that it is original and contains no unlawful content, nor does it violate the rights of any third party.

I have included a one page synopsis of Midnight with this letter and will send the completed manuscript (106,481 words) or a portion at your request. I look forward to your response. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Mari Adkins
[[contact information]]

9 comments:

Rick Daley said...

For an email query, you do not need the formal letter heading (Date, Agent/Agency names, address).

"Life in rural 1985 Kentucky doesn't equate to simple life when Samantha Clark discovers that what she always believed was garden variety depression is genetically-inherited vampirism."

I think you can omit the references to Kentucky at the opening and in your bio, it doesn't seem to have a direct relation to the plot or your writing...Start with the hook- that she finds out her depression is actually vampirism.

Word count is limited in a query, so make sure every word has a specific calling.

In the body of the query, I wouldn't name all of the other people; you can use a general description like "a group of friends..."

"I declare that I am the author and sole owner of Midnight, and the Harlan Vampire Series as a whole, and that it is original and contains no unlawful content, nor does it violate the rights of any third party."

Under US copyright laws, you are granted right to your work as soon as it is produced. You do not need to include any mention of copyright in your query or on your manuscript. If you are concerned with copyright infringement, file for formal copyright protection, and only query agents who are members of the AAR or have done something else to earn your trust.

http://www.copyright.gov/

Mari Adkins said...

Thanks, Rick. I have the worst times with query letters and synopses.

Rick Daley said...

Mari,

You're not alone! Most of us struggle as much or more with the query as with our manuscripts.

StrugglingToMakeIt said...

I'm new to commenting here, but I've been lurking a while. Here are my thoughts on this one. Of course, this is all just my opinion:

First of all, I think the premise is interesting and this sounds like something I'd like to read. Now, for some thoughts on what I'd change.

1. Use the first sentence for hook.

2. More voice and less of the other stuff. Along these lines, I think you could boil the plot down to its essentials more and leave out some of the details that are peripheral to your main plot.

3. Name soup. There are too many names of people we don't have time to meet in the space of a query letter. I'd remove some of them as they'll only distract from your the main statement you're trying to make in your query.

4. "I declare..." paragraph unnecessary. Use that space to tell us more about Midnight.

Eden said...

Hi Mari :) You already have my suggestions about the structure, what to cut, etc. They're what the other commenters here are suggesting so ha ha I have back-up! ;)

The one thing I wan to add here is something I've been hinting at via our discussions: I need more action. I want to know what happens, some plot points, your climax, etc.

I'm using the TC current AB about plot to neaten up my current ms. Maybe if you identified the play-by-play laid out in the article, it could help identify some of those plot points I'm referring to. :)

D. Lemma said...

Rick, the "I declare" paragraph isn't saying she's copyrighted her own work, but that she hasn't infringed on anyone else's copyright. I've seen some places (mostly e-zines) that require such a comment in their submission guidelines.

That said, I would not include it unless it was asked for. I've never seen anyone mention it on the various query-related agent blogs.

What I'm not really getting here is a sense of what is at stake for her in this story. Or what events propel her to change her views. I see how she changes, but there's no hint of why she changes, or what might happen if she doesn't change.

Rick Daley said...

Thanks D, good to know. I haven't seen that requirement before, but I also haven't queries an e-zine.

The Screaming Guppy said...

I agree with taking out the "I declare" paragraph.

As for the rest, I think D. Lemma really hit the nail on the head. You establish that you have a differt idea about vampires, as the condition is genetic. Beyond that, things are a very general "find out my past" type of plot line. I agree that you should remove the names - unless one person is very important, which mentor Micheal sounds like he might be.

Pull out some interesting events from your story and work them into the query. I think that will help make it stand out more.

Good luck.

Mari Adkins said...

StrugglingToMakeIt - I think the premise is interesting and this sounds like something I'd like to read.Thanks!

More voiceYeah I'm having trouble incorporating that into query and synopsis for some reason...:sigh:

Eden - Hi MariHi back, and thanks for telling me about this site!

I need more action. I want to know what happens, some plot points, your climax, etc
I'll write all this down and get my butt over to Absolute Blank...

D. Lemma - I like that name! ;)

I see how she changes, but there's no hint of why she changes, or what might happen if she doesn't changeAh! Right. Good point. :writes that down: Thanks!

The Screaming Guppy -

unless one person is very important, which mentor Micheal sounds like he might beVery much so.

Pull out some interesting events from your story and work them into the query. I think that will help make it stand out moreThanks!

I'll work on a do-over.

Thanks everyone. This has been a ton of help.