Two of the most common questions posed to me since the release of SO SHELLY have been 1) How did you find a publisher, and 2) Is your second novel going to be a sequel. I figured I could answer both those questions by posting an example of a sample query for my second novel, which is tentatively titled CRUSADERS.
To get published in today’s extremely competitive market, especially by one of the “big 6” publishers, a writer must have a agent to pitch the novel to editors at these publishing houses. The typical method of gaining agency representation is by means of a query letter. As for whether it is a sequel to SO SHELLY, those who have read Shelly will recognize that the setting is the same – as are several minor characters – but the protagonists are not. From the beginning, I didn’t want my second novel to be an extension of the plot or a repeat of the gimick I utilized in moderninzed Byron, Shelley(s), and Keats. Rather, I wanted to write a novel born completely out of my imagination. Hopefully, by reading the query below, your appetite will be whetted.
Sample Query (Without Salutation or closing):
The most dangerous student in Trinity Catholic High School doesn’t play violent video games or listen to death metal; she doesn’t own a gun or have a hit list. The most dangerous student in Trinity Catholic High School is a 105-pound poet. Crusaders is a 78,000 word novel for mature young adults.
With weekend football games serving as narrative bookends, Crusaders recounts a cataclysmic week in the lives of a senior boy and girl from polar ends of the social hierarchy of Trinity Catholic High School in Ogontz, Ohio. The rebellious fires of Notre Dame bound quarterback and closet eccentric T.J. Farrell are ignited by the new girl/emo chick Emilia Iavarone, who, in a moment of Promethean audacity, sets in motion a series of events whose fallout will inflict unintended but widespread collateral damage. Discovering a shared distaste for the status quo, a passion for poetry, and a dubious faith in God, T.J. and Emilia rock the foundation of the Crusader faithful despite the parents, school administrators, coaches, and classmates who virulently, even violently, oppose them.
Before the illusion is destroyed by what proves to be the insurmountable, institutionalized power of conformity, T.J. and Emilia rise to share a vision of a future, far from small-town Ogontz, in which freedom of choice, expression, and thought exists beyond the labels, limitations, and expectations imposed by others.
Hopefully, this is of some use to those of you struggling to pen an engaging query; I actually think that this one is much better than the one I wrote for SO SHELLY, which actually worked.