Sunday, January 17, 2010


I've read lots of examples of query letters. To add my two cents, here's the one for Mistletoe Everywhere that I sent to The Wild Rose Press.

Dear Editor (I left the name out):

Since you accepted my story "Pumpkinnapper", I hope my new tale, "Mistletoe Everywhere", will interest you. "Mistletoe Everywhere" is a Regency Christmas romance for the English Tea Rose line, complete at 26,600 words, heat rating Sensual.

"Mistletoe Everywhere" is the story of a couple separated by treachery and of the mistletoe, which may or may not be real, that reunites them.

Charles sees mistletoe. Not surprising, since he's spending Christmas at Mistletoe Manor. But the mistletoe always hangs over Penelope, the despised lady who jilted him. And the mistletoe moves when she does.

Penelope never again wants to see the faithless Charles, the man who cried off after she had accepted his marriage proposal. But he stares at her all the time. Or rather, he stares at the empty ceiling over her head. What does he see?

According to folklore, mistletoe is the plant of peace. Erstwhile lovers Penelope and Charles, so full of anger and hurt, must decide if they will heed the mistletoe's message and make peace.

Thank you for your consideration. Synopsis follows.

Very truly yours,

Linda Banche

The general format for a query letter is four paragraphs. I've deviated a little here.

Paragraph 1: Introduction, telling how you found this publisher, and giving the book title, genre, word count, and any other specific information the submissions guidelines request. The Wild Rose Press wants to know the heat rating, so I added it.

Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5: The story. Think of these paragraphs as the back cover blurb. Don't give the ending away. The idea is to provide just enough information to whet the editor/agent's appetite for more. If you compare these paragraphs with last week's post, you'll see that here is my blurb in the making. I have to write my own blurbs, and I had most of it done when I wrote the query.

Note, paragraphs 2-5 are normally combined into two paragraphs.

Paragraph 6: Your writing credentials. List whatever you have--organizations you belong to, contests you've won or finalled in, and any writing credits. Since this editor accepted Pumpkinnapper, she knows my work, so I left it out.

I'm looking for an agent for my full-length, and here's the writing credentials I use in that query letter:

I have three Regency novellas: LADY OF THE STARS (2009), PUMPKINNAPPER (2009), and MISTLETOE EVERYWHERE (2010) at The Wild Rose Press. Romantic Times Book Reviews awarded 4 stars to LADY OF THE STARS. LADY OF THE STARS is also a finalist in the EPIC 2010 EBook Competition.

And finally, please address the letter to a person, unless the submission guidelines tell you otherwise.

Thank you all,


Paula Martin said...

Excellent, Linda, I found this extremely useful - thanks!
Paula Martin

Linda Banche said...

You're welcome, Paula. Glad to help.

Kaye Manro said...

Linda this is a great example of a query letter! Thanks for sharing it. I'm sending a few new writers I know here to take a look at this post.

(BTW -- my release date for Forbidden Love is May 20!)

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Kaye, and congrats on your release date. That's quite an accomplishment.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Here this is most helpful. My every thanks.
Warmest regards,

Heather Snow said...

The query letter is great and the story sounds SO interesting! Best of luck with it.

Linda Banche said...

Simone, you're very welcome.

Heather, thanks for the kind words.

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