Fiction Query Letters: The Ugly, Day 3


August 21, 2009

Dear Ms. Rainmaker,

My book, THE WINTER CHILD is a completed 400 page novel. It explores themes of grief and loss from the viewpoint of a 10 year old girl. It is my first novel.

Here are the facts:
It is written in first person pov.
It needs a good edit, but it otherwise ready to publish.
It should sell well to people who’ve lost someone they love.
I’ve never read anything like it.
My daughter read it (she’s now 25) and she said I captured how she felt perfectly.
My friend, who’s a NYT Bestselling author, said I needed to get an agent. She read it an loved it.
I volunteer with Hospice

I wrote it after watching my daughter struggle with the death of her father, my husband. It isn’t an easy read. Most of my friends said they cried, especially while they were reading the last chapter.

I plan to take some writing classes and get the book critiqued sometime in the near future.

I would love to send it to you.

Maybe I. Canfixit
(123) 456-7890

P.S.—Sorry about the coffee stain. It was the last piece of paper I had. LOL
This looks like a query that should be rejected. There are style and spelling errors. It’s not in the correct format. But, if you look closer, there are some really positive things in the letter. It almost reads like the author is doing the opposite of the BAD AUTHOR. She’s seems to be missing the most important line items. There are some very compelling elements in this story, and there are clues that suggest it’s pretty well-written, even if the query isn’t.

What if it read like this?


August 29, 2009

Ms Rainmaker, Agent

The Good Book Literary

123 Elm Street

Greenwich, CT 01234

Dear Ms. Rainmaker,

My book, THE WINTER CHILD is a completed 100,000 novel. It explores themes of grief and loss from the viewpoint of a ten year old girl named Cassie who’s just lost her father to cancer. It would appeal to a wide range of readers. It is appropriate for young adults as well as adults. Anyone who’s lost a loved one to cancer could identify with parts of the novel.

Cassie is only nine years old when her father tells her he has less than a year to live. She’s daddy’s girl and she can’t imagine her life without him. The bone-shattering grief she experiences when he dies changes her life and her mother, always a minor character in her life, becomes the center of her world. When, at the end of the summer, she must leave her mother’s constant care and return to school, she refuses to leave her room.

Her mother, Nancy, tries everything to pull her daughter from the frozen world of grief she’s living in, but nothing seems to work. Until she stumbles upon a story Cassie and her father were writing together. Nancy moves an easel and a writing desk into Cassie’s room and the two of them set out to finish the book. In the following months, the two bond deeply and when the book is completed, Cassie learns to cope with her pain.

After reading the manuscript, Leading Author, bestselling author of TIME IS A PAIN and WATERBOY, suggested I contact you.

After losing my husband to cancer, I became a volunteer Hospice Grief counselor, so I am familiar with the range of emotions families must deal with after the loss of a loved one.

Thank you for considering THE WINTER CHILD. I look forward to hearing from you.

Maybe I. Fixedit
(123) 456-7890


Doesn’t the book sound much more compelling?

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