by Roseanna M. White, Editor WhiteFire Publishing
Dear Ms. White:Thank you for taking time to read the proposal for my Women’s Fiction novel, Jasmine. My completed manuscript contains 82,600 words.Jasmine is a survivor. She’s lived through the abuse of her father, running away at age fourteen, living on the streets, and now she counsels at risk young women—giving them a second chance at life. But when her mother dies, can she go home again and face the past she’s forced herself to forget for the last twenty years? Or will the past she’s long forgotten take over her present once again?Through the story, Jasmine realizes that even while she suffered at the hands of others, God never leaves or forsakes any of us. Jasmine will reach adult readers as it offers healing Biblical truths, touching on issues of abuse, abortion and reconciliation with the Lord. Readers that like Lori Copeland’s Simple Gifts, or Francine River’s Her Daughter’s Dream will enjoy Jasmine.
I won The Writer Magazine’s prompt contest in May 2010 for my short story The Gift. I have previously published a short story in The Storyteller. I am a member of Oregon Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. My blog, Faith and Fiction, has over 4000 hits and 700 followers—these numbers are increasing. I am also a regular attendee of Christian writer’s conferences. I can help promote my books via blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Grace and Faith Author’s Marketing Group, and at writers’ conferences.I hope you enjoy reading Jasmine, and I look forward to hearing your response. Would you please send me an email confirming you have received my proposal? Thank you.Sincerely,April McGowan
Okay, now let's examine it point by point.
Next, she gives the important stats right away: title, genre, word count. These are bread and butter to the editor. Why? Because we build lines. And while I was most definitely looking for a contemporary, I was not actively seeking, say, a children's picture book. So it's helpful to know right away what she's pitching, and whether or not I want to read more. She goes directly into a brief blurb of her book, which is both compelling and brief. Brief is good in a query--if the description goes beyond a paragraph or two, the editor will start skimming. Avoid that. ;-)
But after the official blurb, April touches on some of the issues in the story that are not easily included in a blurb, and includes a few comparables--books that are similar in genre or tone, so that I have an idea where it fits in the market.
Next the author lists her credentials--note that this doesn't have to be publishing credits, per se. Contest wins count, as does an active online following. I now know that April has a marketing machine ready to move and can get the word out about her book.
You'll also notice that she asks me to simply acknowledge receipt, so she doesn't have to worry it got gobbled by the cyber monster. This is perfectly acceptable--don't ask for a reply right away on the query itself, but I totally understand wanting to be sure it arrived safe and sound. =)
Now, not all queries are going to follow this exact format, but April's is a fine example of a what works. It's brief, to the point, compelling, and covers all the pertinent information I want to know up front.
And when it does it's job right, you might just end up with a book in your hands someday. =)
I'll be stopping by to reply to comments and questions. And if you have a question you'd like to ask for a future post, either leave a comment with it or email me at roseanna [at] roseannawhite [dot] com.