Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dear Agent,

These are the things I wanted to say in my query letter but decided I shouldn't.

I don't know who you are. I've been sending queries to ten agents a week, and I don't have all day to cyber-stalk you properly. I visited your website, if you have one. First, I looked up your bio to make sure you might want my book. Then I checked the submission guidelines. I started a new email, typed in the subject "Query: DRIVERS," wrote Dear [You] at the top, and pasted in my query letter. I may have followed that up with a painful synopsis and/or sample pages from Drivers that I'd previously formatted with spaces between paragraphs. (So it'd look better in email, you know.)

That query is my sixth version, meaning it was at least my sixth try at writing a query from scratch for Drivers, which is the third novel I've written, revised, and edited. I wrote it from my heart, the way everyone says we're supposed to, and I've never been sure anyone else would like it. But I think maybe there's a chance you will. (And yes, that's redundant on purpose.)

It's been through half a dozen beta readers and countless revisions. I've done my best not to edit out my own voice. You won't find many unintentional grammatical or spelling errors. (If I had a dollar for every time my writing's been described as clean...)

I may have described Drivers as a psychological thriller, but feel free to ignore that designation. I didn't set out to write a thriller. I just wanted to tell a certain story, and it evolved over the months between when it occurred to me and the day I wrote the first line. Maybe you know a better genre to put it in.

I'm already a professional writer. I write what I'm told to write. I do research. I meet deadlines. And this is the driest blog post I've written in a long time. My mouth gets dry talking to strangers, especially when I'm worried about making a good impression.

Finally, I want you to know that Drivers isn't the last or even the best book I've got in me. Ask me about The Freezer. It'll blow you away, but I'm still writing the first draft.

Regards,

Ben

4 comments:

  1. And I'd like to tweak that a bit and give it to the editors my agent is subbing my MS to.

    Well said.

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  2. LOL! It made me laugh. Freezer...hmmm. Does it have anything to do with body parts?

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  3. I think you should send it to an agent. You'd definitely stand out from the crowd then!

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  4. I wish we could do this. It would solve so many of those "this reads forced" issues with queries. This is honest and I like that. Good luck!

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