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I’m rereading some of my query letters, and I swear my mind is exaggerating them into weirdly desperate cries for help. Something like this:

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To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for taking the time to read this query letter. I found your listing while searching for an agent to represent my children’s books.

This is going to be painful. My apologies in advance. This submission represents my first attempt to gain agent representation, as well as my first attempt to become a published author. I have no idea how to write a query letter. I’ve written thousands of business letters and scores of job cover letters, so you can expect this letter to be well-written and typo-free. But with a query letter, I’m lost.

I know how to write stories, but this part of the submission process is just awful. Why? Because the thrill that comes with creating a story and characters just isn’t there when writing a letter. Also, I’m not sure if I’m good enough to be published, much less represented by an agent hoping to make a living. Coming from a small Midwestern town where humility was second nature and bragging just wasn’t done, I never developed a sense of how to sell my abilities. I think my stories are decent, as do my mom and Facebook friends. They all tell me they love my writing. So that’s something.

I spend a lot of my free time writing, and I’ve written a lot of reports at work. And I do have an English degree—in writing even! What I lack in experience, I make up in passion for my craft. Additionally, I have kids and I’ve read them lots of children’s books, so I know what they like.

I’m willing to change any aspect of my manuscript, including characters’ names, gender, or species. I’m even willing to change the location and plotline. I’ve included an excerpt of my manuscript per the instructions on your website. I hope you find it formatted to your liking.

I’m thinking I may just have to blunder along with painfully-written query letters until some poor agent takes pity on me. Well, thank you again for your time and consideration. I promise to try really hard and never complain.

Yours, most sincerely,

Michael Wallevand

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