The Ever-Loving Query Letter

Since I have spent so much time working on the damned thing, I feel like it’s only appropriate to post my query letter here.  I spent as much time and thought on it as I did on many of my short stories, and I figure that any other fiction writers that might stumble upon this blog may find it useful.  Hell, one of you might even be an agent who can give me some pointers.

At the very least, I feel better knowing that it might get read by somebody who can’t reject it.

So many drafts, so little success.

Dear Agent,

I have recently completed, edited, re-edited, and re-re-edited Wasteland, my first novel (97,000 words).  It has taken years of toil and procrastination, but I am finally ready to share it with the world, i.e., you.  I think you will appreciate it because (this part is personalized, where I tell the agent what it was that made me think they would be interested in selling my novel).

Wasteland opens with three children playing in a landfill.  Virginia and Amelia are best friends and their friend Jeremiah has promised to show them something he’s found in the landfill.  But when Jeremiah is accidentally killed, Amelia convinces Virginia that they should hide his body and return to their lives as though nothing happened.  The events in the Wasteland are not so easily forgotten, however, and both girls are haunted by what they know, and the lies they have told.  While everyone else they know is searching for the missing Jeremiah, Virginia is falling in love with his older brother.  Will she ever be able to tell him the truth about what happened to Jeremiah?  Will Amelia’s conniving get the better of them both?  How will either of them ever find redemption for what they’ve done?

I was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and have a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing, which I earned from the University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland.  While in Ireland, I had two short stories published.  The first, “A Curl in the Lip,” was printed in The Stinging Fly’s Winter 2008-09 issue and the second, “Baby Bird” was in an anthology entitled “Anthology, Baby,” which was released by the University College Dublin Press in 2008.  Another story of mine, “Last Year’s Man,” was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Katherine Ann Porter Contest for Fiction.  I also write a fiction blog called Rachel Writes A Book, in which I chronicle my adventures in writing and give my many unpublished short stories some air.

I would be happy to send you the full or partial manuscript of Wasteland as requested.  I am querying other agents at this time, but will give you exclusivity of the manuscript for 6 weeks, should you choose to read it.  Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Rachel Wright

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