A fellow blogger posed the following question yesterday:
Can you take some time sometime to suggest how I should start with sending queries about a proposed book?
Although I've yet to publish anything, I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned so far. First of all, check out the 2009 Writer’s Market. Don’t go out and buy it. It’s available at your local library. The book does provide the format for a query letter and some basic information on how agents operate. The contact information for publishers is darned near worthless because so many of the listed publishers won’t read unsolicited manuscripts. And the book’s list of agents is quite limited. Larger lists of agents can be found free online.
Here is the link to the agent list I’m currently using.
Here is the link to Mike’s Writing Workshop and newsletter. It’s an understatement to say Mike provides a lot of information. This guy is incredibly prolific, sometimes posting as many as ten times a day.
Finally, here’s my query and first chapter for The Spirit Guide Bar. I hope this is helpful.
To: The Bryan C. Frank Literary Agency
Subject: Query: The Spirit Guide Bar
Dear Mr. Frank,
I am seeking representation for my novel, The Spirit Guide Bar, complete at 71,332 words.
The story follows a beaten down teacher as he embarks on a spiritual journey down a road of dreams and visionary experiences. He finds himself bellied up to the Spirit Guide Bar with Ernest Hemmingway, Ulysses S. Grant and the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. The journey stokes some hard questions. Is there a God? Does He communicate with us? What is sanity? What is reality? Are there things that can’t be forgiven?
Like the protagonist in the book, I make my living as a moderately beaten down high school English teacher. Along with performing stand-up comedy, my resume includes a four-year stint writing and hosting educational television programming. In addition to The Spirit Guide Bar, I have produced a collection of stories called The Eight Fingered Criminal’s Son, complete at 85,000 words.
Thank you for taking the time to read my query. The first chapter may be found below. Please consider taking a look.