Agents, Line Up Here! My Version Of A Query Letter

Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson
Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson

Dear Mr. or Ms. Agent,

Hello! You probably don’t know me, but you’re about to. Biblically. Ha ha, get it? No? Your loss. Well. Moving on.

My name is Suzanne J. K. Veronica Green Meyer, and I’m thrilled to announce that you’re one of many specially-selected agents who have been invited to fight for the right to represent my heartbreaking work of staggering genius, A Staggering Work Of Heartbreaking Genius. Congratulations! Read on.

A Staggering Work Of Heartbreaking Genius is a YA/NA crossover post-apocalyptic dystopian romance novel with a paranormal twist. When Tris, a vampire with a heart of gold, meets Edward, a zombie who somehow retains his love of literature and looking at himself in mirrors, the hallowed, deathly spark between them is instantaneous. But Draco, a wizard-scientist with a deep, dark past, also has his eye on Tris. Meanwhile, in a steampunk alternate-history plot twist, Winston Churchill’s arrived via a time-traveling red phone box in the present day with a squadron of zeppelins to blast the zombies into oblivion. Can Edward save his brain-eating kind from certain death and win Tris’s heart while fighting off the sexy-but-evil Draco? A sure hit with fans of Twilight, Harry Potter, The Fault In Our Stars, Khaled Hosseini, Mac and Cheese, Food, Puppies, the Internet, and Breathing, ASWOHG is sure give even the hardiest of stone hearts paroxysms of ‘the feels’.

I already know what you’re thinking: “Dear God, I must represent this genius, heartbreaking work!” Rest assured, dear agent, you are not alone. Indeed, now that you’ve found next year’s #1 New York Times Bestselling title, all that remains for you is to defeat your fellow agents in a competition to the death that bears absolutely no resemblance to Suzanne Collins’ ‘The Hunger Games’. The victor will win the rights to represent my nine-figure book deal and subsequent translation, film, comic book, action figure, and Disney theme park rights sales.

Will you participate? If so, please respond to this email, and you will be given the GPS coordinates of a small, hitherto-undiscovered island off the coast of Alaska. The inaugural challenge will be to craft a ship with your bare hands that will take you to said island, which is conveniently also the site of an active volcano. Once you’ve arrived (assuming you survive the journey) the real competition will begin. Extra points will be given for each murder done in the style of ‘The Lord of the Flies’. Only the last agent left alive will win the rights to represent my soon-to-be trillion-dollar franchise.

May the odds be ever in your favor,

S. J. K. V. G. Meyer

This is what a greatly-exaggerated version of what query letters would look like if the power was in my hands, rather than with the agent. I was inspired to write this post when I saw an agent (who I shall not name) saying that “it’s never been harder to get your work published” than the present time. All I could think was, “Really? You mean it’s harder now than it was two hundred years ago when you had to hand-write everything and burn your pages instead of hitting ‘backspace’? You mean it’s harder now than it was when print books were a luxury item, instead of trash to be thrown away after you get off the plane? You mean it’s harder now to get published than it was five years ago, before you could sell your manuscript with the push of a button through Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and more?” 

I call bullshit, Ms. McAgent Lady. I. Call. Bullshit.