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Friday, July 1, 2011

Query Letter

We have just finished another round of development theory and so instead of starting something new I have decided to post my query letter for all to see and hopefully help me perfect. Trust me I can take any suggestions good or bad. Thanks for all the help and of course if any of you would like to send it to an agent you know personally that would be great :)

June 29, 2011

[Agent name and address here]

Dear [agent name]:

I am pleased to submit for your consideration my young adult fantasy, THE ORDER OF THE ROSE. In this 78,000-word, sixteen-year-old Tom must learn why he can wield magic in a world where only women have had that power for centuries and why he is chosen to restore The Order of The Rose.

Torn from his mother at a young age and rescued by Pharos, a wealthy leader, from the orphanage where he is bullied by peers and the headmaster, Tom soon learns of his unique power. Pharos trains him to use guns and swords, as well as subterfuge in hopes that Tom can overthrow the current government. When Tom finds a secret room, a ghost speaks to him of his responsibility to restore The Order of The Rose and how he must learn to believe in himself and the power he has within.

Tom discovers that Pharos is not the only one interested in his new found abilities, but Witches and the Sisterhood, women who control the magic, are looking for him as well. If Tom fails to restore The Order of The Rose and bring an end to the corruption, the land will be ripped apart.   

I am currently majoring in school psychology. I have a Masters degree in counseling and have come to better understand the people around me. I use this knowledge for my own blog, How to Diagnose Your Character, in hopes that writers will be better able to create accurate characters for their novels.

If you would like to consider THE ORDER OF THE ROSE, I’d be happy to forward the complete manuscript at your request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Joshua Hoyt
354 E 500 N Logan, Ut 84321


  1. My only concern is that your sentences are too long. For example: "In this 78,000-word, sixteen-year-old Tom must learn why he can wield magic in a world where only women have had that power for centuries and why he is chosen to restore The Order of The Rose." Could probably be "In this 78,000-word novel, sixteen-year-old Tom must learn why he can wield magic when only women have for centuries. For this reason he is chosen to restore the Order of the Rose."

    I really liked the imagery in "the land will be ripped apart."

    Don't try to cram so much information into each sentence. Use some short sentences to make them more powerful. Nice job though.

  2. A blog comment really is not the proper format for a query critique. This is a good start, and obviously a cool story, but the letter can use a little polishing. Send me an email if you would like me to critique the whole letter on my blog.

    Good luck, Josh!

  3. Yes, this is good and I agree with Emily. Try and shorten your sentences. You want to make them as easy to read as possible. Looks like you're on the right path though.This query reads like a typical blurb, which is what queries are meant to do.

  4. ok cant help you as i am learning myself, but between yours and the crit above it has been a great help...

  5. I agree long sentances are not alway good.
    It is however essential at times .
    I believe critque is no matter what is said can only be good for the writer,


  6. it sounds good to me, but I am not a very good critiquer! Good luck!

  7. I agree that the sentences are a bit wordy. I feel like you could also do some reorganization to help with flow but that might be resolved by shorter sentences. It's looking good though. Good luck!

  8. How about:

    'I have a Masters degree in counseling and, as a result, have come to better understand the people around me.'

    It makes the sentence land a little more fluidly on the 'ear.' Not super important, but it came to mind. :)

    Best of luck!

  9. Thanks Suze that is a great idea.

  10. I've never written a query letter, so I'm not the best person to offer advice. However, I agree with the advice about shortening and tightening up some of the sentences - make them more punchy.

    Your query has certainly intrigued me. You've teased us with what looks like an awesome book!

  11. I'd say it's not just about shortening sentences, but also being more concise and not just telling us what happens to him, but showing us why it's interesting.

    The fact he was taken from his mother and is in an orphanage is sort of saying the same thing twice. The bullying is generic and doesn't really give us an idea of what he went through (or even if that's important).

    'Tom soon learns...' how does he learn? Those sorts of key moments are what will provide a hook. If you're thinking how he finds out is long and complicated, encapsulating it in one line is the art of a query letter.

    You could say Harry Potter discovers he has a place at a school for wizards, or you can say flocks of owls drop letters down Harry Potter's chimney, insisting he attend Hogwarts School of Wizardry. My point being, the aim isn't to just tell us what happens, but how it happens in a way that captures the tone of the book.

    At the moment your query is a little flat, listing events and making vague claims as to their importance, you aren't conveying the flavour of the story, in my opinion.

    Hope that helps, please bear in mind i am speaking from a position of ignorance.
    Moody Writing

  12. Thanks Mooderino your comment is very helpful I will take a look at this and work on the sentences. I like how you talk about the art of query letter I agree and think that it is something that we must practice and learn. Thanks again.

  13. I've got your query up on the blog today, Josh. The critique will come tomorrow. I like to do them on Fridays so people have all weekend to comment.

  14. It looks good to me! But I am with april, I am not really a good critic, and my grammer skills aren't the best! :)
    Good with it though!!

    (Finally figured out the only way I can comment now is if I do it anonymously-I don't know why it suddenly stoped working for me!:)


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