Jan 12 2010

What do you think about this query letter for Superhero Nation?

A query is a page-long letter used by a novelist or comic book author to interest an editor and convince him that the writing is promising enough that he should spend the time to look at the sample chapters (for a novel) or script (for a comic book). What do you think about this query letter?

Dear [EDITOR NAME],

It’s been a normal day for IRS Agent Gary Smith, besides the car-bomb.  And the US Marshals threatening to send him on a one-way trip to Alaska.  And the revelation that everybody he knows has a pretty good motive to murder him (even besides the fact that he’s an IRS agent).  His only chance of surviving with his sanity intact rests on joining a top-secret spy agency and partnering with a mutant alligator whose powers of deduction make Scooby Doo look like Batman.

Superhero Nation is a wacky mix of an office comedy and national security thriller.  I’ve enclosed the script for the first issue, five colored and lettered sample pages, and the synopsis for the five issue arc.

My main writing qualifications are that I’m a communications contractor for [AGENCY NAME] and the webmaster for a superhero writing advice website with hundreds of thousands of readers.

Thank you for your time and consideration.  I can be reached at [PHONE] or [EMAIL].

Yours,

[NAME]

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “What do you think about this query letter for Superhero Nation?”

  1. Bretton 12 Jan 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I applaud. Perfect fusion of professionalism and style. The ending salutation is understated, but I think it works.

  2. CRon 12 Jan 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Looks good, short and to the point. Perhaps it would be a good idea to swap the first two paragraphs–the immediate launch into the short intro seems a tad jolting to me. Maybe use a double dash(en-dash?) after the words ‘Gary Smith’ in the first sentence, instead of the comma. Lotta commas there. Or this: …Gary Smith. Normal besides…

    Hmm. I have noticed many query examples with the sentence ‘Look forward to hearing from you’. Could add that 🙂 .

  3. Ragged Boyon 12 Jan 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Very professional! Excellent work, I love that you incorporate your personal style of writing into your letter. This letter would definitely make me would to further enquire. Although, I agree that the ending salutation is a bit bland.

    Is that the Brett?

  4. Ragged Boyon 12 Jan 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I think “Look forward to hearing from you” is just a bit pretentious. It’s assuming that the editor will actually look into your project. But that’s just personal opinion.

  5. Lighting Manon 12 Jan 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Looks great to me, very stylish and yet professional.

  6. Wingson 12 Jan 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I just laughed a little reading through it. Looks fine over here.

    – Wings

  7. Beccaon 12 Jan 2010 at 7:09 pm

    I love how concise it is, and the opening paragraph is a very good representation of the story. A lot of people (myself included) seem to have trouble writing brief story descriptions but you’ve got it down. If I was an editor I’d be very interested!

  8. B. Macon 13 Jan 2010 at 12:55 am

    “I laughed a little reading through it.” I’m glad to hear it. I keep a bit of advice from Janet Reid on a post-it note attached to my wall: “If you tell me your book is a comedy, and the query letter isn’t funny or amusing, there’s a problem. A big one.” A query letter really needs to “show” rather than “tell” how funny (or interesting or exciting or whatever) the book is. If the editor thinks “this is funny,” he will probably start on the sample chapters or script. If the author describes himself as a comedy writer but fails to convince the editor he’s funny, the editor probably won’t take the time to check the sample.

    I think the two biggest problems I had were “how do I show it’s a comedy?” and “how do I introduce an editor to the plot in a way that’s fast enough to be interesting but slow enough to be easy-to-understand?”

    I agree with CR that I probably could have paced it out more effectively by leading with the overview rather than the plot details. I think that providing the overview will make it easier to understand the specifics. “DEAR EDITOR NAME, I’d like to propose Superhero Nation, a wacky mix of an office comedy and national security thriller. The first issue starts with a pretty normal day in the life of IRS Agent…”

    As I take this from 150 words to 200-250, I’d also like to develop the “wacky office comedy” element of the series a bit. I’d like to focus on the comedy angle rather than the thriller because, for example, the book ends with a botched job interview rather than an intense action sequence.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply