I was not familiar with the term "query letter" until recently. I did not know what I now know: those two words, when properly understood, are sufficient to send the first-time author into a panic attack.
A typical literary agent receives hundreds of manuscripts to review. So they devised a shortcut. In order to get a handle on which ones to read and which ones to pitch, they require a query letter, which is a cover letter composed by the author. Your first attempt at novel writing may be Pulitzer-worthy material, but if you can't sell it with a good query letter, no one is going to publish it. No pressure.
So like a good legal assistant, I found a query letter that was held up as a good example of what all query letters should strive to be, and changed it around to fit my case, er, story. Et voila, query letter.
My prospective publisher now knows the synopsis (basic story line), the number of words (one hundred four thousand two hundred twenty-four), and the number of pages (388). They also know I actually lived in the places where the novel takes place, which hopefully lends a vivid air of authenticity. They also know that I intend that a portion of the proceeds go to support some of the Catholic monasteries and churches mentioned in the novel.
If I can avoid retaining the services of a literary agent, I'll save fifteen percent of the profits. Most big name publishers won't consider a novel without one, so I'm hoping the publisher I queried last week with the first two chapters will say "YES! Send us more!"
Til then, I will be waiting patiently by the mailbox.
The electronic one, not the pretty painted ones in the photo.
The opinions expressed on this website are my own personal views and do not necessarily represent those of the Catholic Church.
If I have erred in any statement, whether directly or by implication, in any matter pertaining to faith or morals, I humbly invite fraternal correction.