Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Wish to Pursue

I was so excited when I found this agency's website and it said I was allowed to submit the first five pages AND the synopsis with my query. Too bad I didn't have the patience to find out how to write a decent query letter before submitting.

Dear REDACTED,

I am writing to you seeking representation for my young-adult fantasy-adventure novel which has the working title, Warrior-Monks, which is complete at approximately 475,000 words. The sequel, which is untitled, currently exists only in outline form. I am enclosing a synopsis as well as the first five pages of the book because that is specifically what your website asks for.

I love Eastern Cultures and art forms – Martial Arts, Calligraphy, Japanese Swords, Tea Ceremony etcetera and all the tradition and high level of art that go into them. I also love magic and fantasy and eastern religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. Warrior-Monks incorporates all of these themes in a fantastic way which has never been done in young adult fantasy to my knowledge.

Lee is a troubled young man from a broken family. After being expelled from boarding school and having experienced several brushes with the law, his adopted parents, who also happen to be his cruel aunt and uncle, decide to ship him off to a strange and distant reform school which is in the remote wilderness in the panhandle of Northern Idaho. He becomes a member of a group of 12 other students who arrived at the school at the same time as him. They are all very afraid and apprehensive about what will be going on at the school but they are soon pleased to discover that it is not nearly as bad as they had feared. After working in the Wood-Corral for several months they begin taking classes like Aikido, Kenjutsu, Calligraphy and Meditation. It is some time before they discover that through meditation they can imbue their calligraphic scrolls with ancient magic. The book consists of many themes such as the beauty of nature, the life-energy that exists in everything and the awkward struggles that teenagers go through as they grow into themselves and become adults. Lee’s coming of age and struggling with the loss of his mother and the breaking of his family form the core of this introspective but also character driven tale.

I have never been published but I am confident that many authors like Christopher Paolini and Brunonia Barry have proved that you do not have to be a highly experienced or best-selling author to write an incredibly entertaining book. Please feel free to reply to this email, or to call me on my mobile phone at any time at 206-555-1212, or even to write to me at home at:

ADDRESS

Thank you for your consideration of this proposal. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Matthew M. Rush

FIRST FIVE PAGES pasted into body of email.

SYNOPSIS pasted into body of email.

Her reply:

Thank you for your submission to REDACTED Literary Agency. We read your query and have come to the conclusion that it is not something we wish to pursue at this time.

Best of luck with your writing career.

Sincerely,

REDACTED

This one kind of hurt at the time because the agency's website specifically stated that I was allowed to submit the first five AND the synopsis. I know the synopsis isn't great but I would like to think that the pages are. I was a little crushed because I felt like this one rejected me in spite of the actual writing. Looking back I'm pretty sure the assistant who read this query did not read past the first paragraph. They probably stopped at the word count. If they read the entire query letter they almost certainly did not continue on to read the pages.

Oh well. Live and learn.

3 comments:

Mary McDonald said...

Try not to take it personally. I know your pain, I've been there. (about 50 times, so yeah...it sucks.) Just keep plugging along.

Anonymous said...

Don't take it personally. They treat every aspiring author this way.

What I'm worried about is your attitude here. I don't mean to offend you, but it sounds like you think your writing is so brilliant, there's no way an agent could have read it and rejected it. Maybe they did read it but didn't like it enough?

Sorry to be harsh, I just think you need to consider that possibility.

-James

Matthew Rush said...

James,

You make a valid point. No offense taken. This blog is about my blunders at querying and I have no illusions about how bad I was at it at first.

If you read on you will see that I kept at it and have learned a lot.

Thanks for visiting and commenting honestly.