Writing a query letter when submitting your story can almost be harder to write than your story.
But don’t panic, here is a simple guide to help you on your way.
Firstly, always know who it is you are sending you query letter to. If a name is supplied – use it, preferably their full name. If no name is offered – To who it may concern or the Publishers company name.
Secondly, give the reason for your letter – this will be the submission guideline you are sending your story in for.
Your letter should then contain the following –
The title of your story, genre(s), word count, if your story is part of a series and at most times a two paragraph ‘blurb’ or ‘sale pitch’ of your story. This might be what you would read on the back cover of your book, if published.
It is also important to include any publication history, regardless if it is self-published or published – every bit helps.
Here is a very general example of a query letter to help you on your way. It doesn’t have to be anything excessive. The more precise you can be, the better.
Dear Dreamspinner Press,
Please find attached my submission, Time for Destiny for your Timeless Dreams Submissions.
Daniel is the oldest of five and struggling to deal with family life. With the death of his mother and being blamed for her death by his father, their family is torn apart. Daniel, and his brother Peter, leave home and Daniel embarks on a path of self discovery. During Daniel’s struggles, he begins to experience dream like encounters with a man in the past. Only when Daniel realises these experience are actually happening does Daniel seek out his brother, Peter, to help find an answer. But will it be in time for Daniel to save his first love, Vir, the young Indian man he met in the past – and is there any way to reunite in the future. Time has a way of bringing together love in the most unusual way.
This 50,000+ word story is a time-travel romance based during the time of the Iraqi war and the 1857 Sepoy rising in India. Both men, having to deal with war and a love that has time itself keeping them apart, must learn to accept their situation. But the odds of them remaining together are slim and death is always close at hand, as both Daniel and Vir fight to not only stay alive, but stay together.
I have been writing for six years and many of my stories have been available on free to read sites such as Wattpad and Fiction Press under the pen name, Rae Kitano. I have also self-published several of my books and they are available on my website, Moral Fortitude.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
This was not in fact, my actual query letter – this was –
(note I did not address my letter to anyone)
The title of the book I wish to submit is Time for Destiny
The genre of this book is contemporary gay themed, focusing on romance between different times and cultures.
This book is complete and has a word count of 52, 500+.
Time for destiny
Daniel has grown up taking care of his family in the absence of his father. With the dramatic events of 911, his mother’s fears of the lives of her five children have created even more pressure on Daniel. With the return of his father Daniel’s resentment grows, yet he continues to support his mother and sibling the best he can. Following the terrorist bombing in his home country of England, Daniel is devastated at the death of his mother and the subsequent blame put on him by his father for her death.
His young brother Peter is the only person who is now there for him and together they are rebuilding their lives. As Peter heads off to university, Daniel joins the army and finds himself in the midst of the Iraq war. During his time in Iraq he discovers an old Indian rupee and which, for reasons unknown to him, transports him back to India, 1857. There he meets Vir, a young Indian man who has him questioning his sexuality and the possibility of a relationship between time.
I post my stories on Wattpad only under the name Rae Kitano and have been doing so for the last two years. I have no training with writing structure, style or editing but that which I have taught myself.
As you can see the first example I gave and the one I actually sent are very different. The fact Dreamspinner Press did pick up Time for Destiny is still one that surprises me. But it goes to show – your query letter just needs to have the requirements asked by the publisher. Although, I am more inclined to use my first example, rather than my second – I can’t believe I got away with that.
I hope this has helped, any questions, just send them though to me here at Moral Fortitude.
Next : A guide to writing your synopsis.