Query Letter for a Fantasy Novel

So I’ve been looking for ways to write the ‘perfect’ query letter. In case you don’t know what a query letter is, it’s basically your pitch to the publisher or agent you are trying to get to represent you and your work. Without this first crucial step, even a masterpiece novel will have challenges making it out there.

I’ve had some people look my query letter. The first thing they all said was “I have no idea what’s going on.” Well, that’s to be understood. It’s a fantasy world with completely made up rules, races and civilizations. I don’t expect you to know what I’m talking about in a single letter.

But Alyssa, if I don’t know what I’m reading, why would I care to read the novel? Hm… that’s a good point.

So, step 2, I rewrote my query in plain English. I removed anything that was confusing or made it a question for the reader. But then, no one was interested. “This looks really boring” *Panic*

So, step 3, I’ve focused on the characters. The plot is heavy, and important, but the characters are really what should drive the story. So now I feel like I’ve reached a nice balance of clarity and intrigue. Hopefully I’m right!

The further I get into this process, the more I realize that the easy part is actually just writing the first draft of the novel. That is all the fun, flow-y, creative-y stuff that I get to just regurgitate from my insides to the page. (Sorry lovely image I know). But after extensive editing, rewriting, editing some more, and now fancy-patsy business letters… I’m feeling overwhelmed. It’s a bit scary, but I’m going to keep going until I reach my goals! Whether I’m sane or not when I finally do is another matter.

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