Marji Laine: Faith~Driven Fiction

. . . Authentic and Intense

Swimming with Sharks!

>I had the pleasure of reading through (yes, from start to finish) a great source of inspiration called Query Shark.    To say I had fun would be an understatement!  While the blog does contain some language that could be offensive, the agent that moderates it just made me belly-laugh!  My kids thought I was playing around when I was supposed to be working!

Anyway, Query Shark invites authors to send their query letters (for fiction only) – that’s the initial introduction that authors will use to promote their stories to agents or publishers (See, I’m learning!!!) – and discusses in detail everything that’s wrong with them, until they have a letter that is ready to send.  (Or until their letter proves beyond a shadow – which sometimes doesn’t take very long – that their writing ability just isn’t ready to share with the outside world.)

I am so profoundly grateful to all of those aspiring authors who were brave enough to offer their queries.  I learned so much reading through all of their mistakes and hope I don’t make any of my own.  (Yeah, right!)

In the end, I took the plunge and after pouring over my letter 7 times to make sure I had caught every single typo and awkward sentence, I sent mine in for perusal.  Doubtless my own will have plenty wrong with it; I just hope she uses it so I can see what I still need to do! 

This is what I’ve learned from my investigations into the world of query:

  • ***Do the research to learn which agents might be interested in my story.
  • ***Use the agent’s submission requirements – every agent has their own personal style.
  • Keep the query to 250 or less
  • Start with a “hook,” a one- or two-sentence nutshell statement about the book to excite the agent to read on.
  • Use the main character’s first name in the hook – most of the time, start with that name.
  • Write a one- to two-paragraph teaser about the story, like the ones on the back of paperbacks.
  • Don’t tell the ending.
  • Do include the word count, genre, title
  • Describe writing experience (which means actual published work – not self-published.)  It was never actually stated, but I’m guessing since the only thing I’ve published so far is a poem, I should leave that section out.
  • Complete the query with contact information.

Omygosh!  I just realized I didn’t put my physical address in the contact information of my query!  What a ditz!  I deserve the shark-bite for that one!

Okay, look over the bullets.  What did I miss for a query letter for a novel?

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Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a homeschooling mom with teenage twins left in the nest. She spends her days transporting to and from volleyball, teaching writing classes at a local coop, and directing the children’s music program at her church. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

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