Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fall 2009: Query Letter, Wave 1

So in the summer of 2009, with THE ARTIFACT COMPETITION finished and its follow-up on the cusp of completion, I ventured forth into the world of the Literary Agent. Now Janet Reid, the Query Shark, would remind me that Literary Agent is not a proper noun, but for the sake of this post, I think caps are called for.

Now, the list below may not look impressive, but when I first started doing the research, there were very few Literary Agents who 1) accepted email queries and 2) were interested in sf/fantasy. I realize that I'm hobbling myself by sticking solely with email, but living in Japan and querying Agents in the States makes email the sanity-maintaining choice.

The purpose of this post is to remind me that I still have a long way to go and to chronicle the steps as I take them (or as I took them, in this case).

So, here it is: Query Letter, Wave 1

Rejection (Actual)
09/05-09/09/2009 - Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown (query, 1st 5 pgs)
09/05-09/08/2009 - Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary Agency (query only)
09/05-09/26/2009 - Jennifer Jackson of Donald Maas (query, synopsis, 1st 5 pgs)
10/04-10/06/2009 - Richard Henshaw of Richard Henshaw Group (query only)
10/04-10/14/2009 - Frances Collin of Frances Collin (query only)
10/04-10/30/2009 - Peter Rubie of FinePrint Literary Mgmt (query only)

Rejection (No Reply)
08/23/2009 - Laurie McLean of Larsen Pomada (query, 1st 10 pgs, 2 pg synopsis)
09/20/2009 - Russell Galen of Scovil Galen Gosh (query only)
09/20/2009 - Shawna McCarthy of the McCarthy Agency (query only)
09/24/2009 - Ethen Ellenberg of Ethan Ellenberg (query, 1st chapter, synopsis)
09/27/2009 - Kimberly Cameron of Reece Halsey North (query, synopsis)
09/27/2009 - Lucienne Diver of the Knight Agency (query only)
10/04/2009 - Chris Lotts of Ralph M. Vicinanza (query, 1st few pages)
10/04/2009 - Susan Ann Protter of Susan Ann Protter (query only)

The above agents received my very first attempt at a query which looked, for the most part, something like this:

Dear Agent,

The only thing Jav Holson knows is that whatever cost him his memory would have destroyed him if not for the Viscain Emperor.

The gift of an Artifact--the Ritual Mask--made Jav one of the Empire's super-powered, elite Shades and he gladly fights to further the reach of the planet-snaring Undead Vine that makes up the Viscain Empire. But the Ritual Mask was never meant to last and the Emperor wants to see a continued return on his investment.

To replace Shades lost in recent planetary acquisitions, and to give Jav a chance to live past the death of the Ritual Mask, the Emperor schedules a martial arts tournament, the Artifact Competition, to be held in five years. Since the Ritual Mask is failing and a new Artifact is required, Jav must learn the Eighteen Heavenly Claws to meet and beat the challenges posed by the superhuman fighters he'll be up against. First, though, he'll have to survive his training, the murderous grudges of two of his seniors, a vacation cut short by the protestations of a dead god's ghost, and a pitched battle of fists versus guns with alien pirates.

THE ARTIFACT COMPETITION is a 76,500-word science fiction novel, the first in a planned series of six. This is my first novel. Agent-specific reasons for querying this agent. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.



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