Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Query Letter for a Novel

Hello there. So glad you stopped by!

Do you know how to write a query letter? Successful query letters for articles, fiction and non-fiction books are all alike in some ways, but very different in other ways. Some folks grit their teeth attempting to compose a query.

But it really doesn't have to be that hairy. I promise.

Below is a query letter I recently sent to a literary agency for a novel, after checking their submission guidelines carefully. The agency asked for a full mss quickly so, hopefully, something hooked their attention. Today I am giving you the exact query I sent (but not the first five pages they also requested that I paste in the same email). In my next blog we will go over the important parts included in this one page query letter.

Title: In a Pirate's Debt
Genre: Historical Inspirational Romance
Completed mss: 71,000 words
By debut author Elva Cobb Martin
A stand alone or first book in a series
Address: 104 Oak Knoll Terrace, Anderson, SC 29625
Web site: www.elvamartin.com Blog: http://carolinaromancewithelvamartin.blogspot.com
Twitter: Elva Cobb Martin @ElvaCobbMartin
Telephone: 864/226-7024 (h) 864/314-0804 (cell)

PitchIn a Pirate's Debt is the story of a young woman who escapes a forced marriage but falls into the hands of a buccaneer who is considering taking King George’s pardon. Will the pirate risk his life and heart to help her?

Back Cover Copy: Saving her can land him in a hangman’s noose at low tide in Charles Town Harbor. Repaying her debt to him will relegate her to a life worse than death.

Briefly: Travay Allston flees her stepfather’s house in Jamaica and Sir Roger Poole who has won her hand in marriage in a gambling payoff. Poole corners her at the edge of the Caribbean and she drives her horse over the cliff into the bay. Privateer Captain Lucas “Bloodstone” Barrett pulls her from the ocean half dead and suffering from amnesia. Sailing on his ship, The Blue Heron, Travay regains her memory and has nothing but scorn for the pesky boy of her childhood, son of indentured parents, who has turned pirate—and become strikingly handsome. Love is out of the question, but she owes him a debt for saving her life. Lucas, on a quest to find his parents captured by the Spanish, backs off from the lovely, spoiled Travay. She spells nothing but trouble, especially to a new convert to Christianity. He drops her off in Charles Town and washes his hands of her. He thinks. When Lucas is sentenced to hang for piracy, Sir Roger shows up with a pardon, but only if Travay marries him. Will Travay repay her debt to a pirate by marrying their mutual enemy? Falling in love with the pirate was never part of her plan. . . .

Target Audience: women 30–80

Marketing Strategies: I am building readership and friends by social networking on three blogs, a web site, face book, and Twitter; by leading writers’ groups; and by obtaining bylines with articles. I hope to have a virtual book tour and produce a trailer. Other marketing plans include speaking engagements, book signings, TV and radio interviews, endorsements, and obtaining influencers who will write reviews for Amazon and other internet sites as I have done for author friends.

Brief Bio: Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Fiction Writers. She has taught school but now devotes her time to freelance writing, leading an internet prayer ministry, and ministering as a guest speaker. Her articles have been published in Decision, Charisma, Home Life, Mature Living, and The State Magazine. She and her husband of forty years are the parents of a law officer son and a wonderful six-year-old grandson. They live in Anderson, South Carolina, and are active in a local congregation.

This is a simultaneous submission in seeking representation. I appreciate your consideration.


Elva Cobb Martin
(end of query)

There, doesn't that seem easy? Actually, it's a carefully crafted piece and one I look forward to sharing more about in my next blog.  Thanks for stopping by and do leave a comment. Have you had a successful query recently?

Elva Cobb Martin

Elva Cobb Martin is a freelance writer, Bible teacher and grandmother. She is president of the American Christian Fiction Writers new South Carolina Chapter. She has been published in Decision, Charisma, and Home Life and is currently working on an inspirational romance novel. Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina, with her husband and high school sweetheart, Dwayne. You can connect with her through her web site at www.elvamartin.comon Face Book and Twitter @Elvacobbmartin. Or leave a comment below on this blog