Thursday, July 9, 2009

Example Query Letter (Hook-Summary-Questions)

I wanted to post this query letter of a novel I wrote a year or so back. I’m detached from it right now and have shelved it in order to concentrate on a different novel that is getting more attention. Full disclosure: I’ve sent this to 10 agents in total and have received two requests, so I guess it’s not a bad model. Feel free to slam it, dice it, shred it, or comment on it, but I thought I’d post it because the way it’s organized is pretty much how I organize every query (excluding the address, of course), after a few years of tweaking/experimenting. And so far, it’s been doing pretty well. Of course, if you have any other ideas….
I just thought, if you were lost in a sea of query letter advice, you might like a direct example of something that is having a little (emphasize little) bit of success.

Patrick Parr
123 Avenue.
Dudesville, HI

Dear Such and Such:

Soliloquy is a novel (humor/satire) that deals with a planet of watermelons fighting off pumpkins with opposable stalks. It also deals with Gods, Love, Death, and melons of mass destruction (MMD).

The moment Mike Davis is visited by Zandar, his life changes. He's already a happy guy. He has a loving wife, a good house, and a job that allows him to daydream about the universe. But Zandar needs seeds. Watermelon seeds, and only from Earth. He needs to take them back to his planet so he can save his race from being destroyed by the invading pumpkin army. If Mike is going to help Zandar, he's going to have to go through a couple aliens he may recognize:

-His neighbor, John Steele, a born-again trucker with a knack for reporting suspicious activity and having daydreams of the end of the world, when everyone is in need of pocket-sized New Testaments.

-Roy, a death metal junkie who listens to Master of Puppets by Metallica on the top of his roof 'just to chill'. Roy believes only in himself, and even that's shaky from time to time.

Through it all, Mike has his beautifully opinionated wife, Penny, and a story of a planet divided into two sections: The Squishies, and the Toughies. Will Mike save Zandar and his race of giant-sized melons from extinction? Or is it all completely ridiculous?

An excerpt of Soliloquy has been published in Byline Magazine.

I believe it would appeal to all the Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut fans out there. Also, Christopher Moore fans looking for something just a little different.

Previous work has appeared in Every Day Fiction, Dark Sky Magazine, The Storyteller, and as an Amazon Short, among others.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Patrick Parr


  1. So I'm thinking a year of Thanksgivings and pumpkin pies might solve the planet's dilemma... ;)

  2. Hey Patrick, very similar to what I have used in the past, and I agree it works pretty well.

    The only thing I can't figure out is why you used Jenny's phone number :D

  3. I like it. It's outrageous and somehow very real all at the same time. good work!


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