Friday, March 12, 2010

Minute Progress

Here is another query, same as the previous, sent out the same day (still first day of querying overall). I have since decided that one query per day is more than enough. This is an important letter and it deserves all the attention you can give it, plus at least a few hours of marination. At first I was so excited that I was figuring on quantity being all that was necessary. Just get one person to read my novel and it will get published I told myself. This was totally delusional. Not because the book isn't good, it is. But it wasn't READY.

REDACTED Literary Agency

May 7th, 2009


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 but will not include any sample chapters because the Rupert Heath Literary Agency website clearly states that you will request a manuscript if you have an interest. I will say though, that this story really has to be read to be appreciated as the synopsis included here simply does not do it justice.

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 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 206-422-1176, or to write to me at home at:


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


Matthew M. Rush

His reply:

Thanks. This does sound in many ways an exciting and ambitious project.

Unfortunately it’s not quite right for our agency, but I am sure you’ll get a lot of interest elsewhere, and I wish you the best of luck.


I'm pretty sure this is not a form rejection. That is all he wrote. No address, no greeting. I get the feeling that he really meant these comments for my query specifically. Not that it really matters. He's right. It is exciting and ambitious. It's also a little naive to think that people will buy a book that long. It happens, but not often with a first novel. The point is I started to feel like I was making a little progress when I got this reply.

I'm actually posting these queries in the order the replies came back, except for grouping them by version, sort of. So of the queries sent out that tragic first day this one was one of the last to come back. Sure it was a rejection. Sure there wasn't much advice offered, but it still felt a little bit different.

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