Thursday, October 7, 2010

Goober Writers Anonymous--Query of Horror

Due to some technical difficulties, Melissa Gill's GWA post will be postponed until tomorrow.  Until then, I thought you might enjoy seeing my very first query.  This query preceeds everything I ever learned by following blogs, agent websites, etc.  It is actually the product of some research, but very bad advice that I wish I had never gotten.  I quite literally made every mistake possible.  Unfortunately, the site I found giving out query advice told me to do precisely what you'll see below.  Please don't laugh too hard; I'm humiliated enough. ;)


Dear Sir or Madam:

The war between good and evil has always fascinated mankind.  The line drawn between the two have always been apparent and each of us has crossed that line many times throughout our lives.  But what if we had to choose one side over the other?  What if it was all or nothing?

In Tales of Morcah, which is nearing completion at 50,081 words, Lillian is a beautiful woman who craves wisdom beyond anything else and because of this is easily corrupted by Delegor, the Gatekeeper to the Door of Morcah; a land filled with hopelessness and pure evil.  Michael, the Guardian, is the last in a long line of warriors who have been sworn to defend the world from the darkness that invades the land. And Inri, a unicorn, though quiet and unassuming, turns out to be much more than he at first seems.  “He is wise indeed and the choices he makes have a lasting effect,” Michael replied.  “There is still much of him that I cannot fathom, but I suspect his purpose is far greater than he lets on.” Michael and Inri are the leading characters on the side of Good and Lillian’s ultimate decision of which side she chooses will not be determined until the sequel, Rumors of War, in outline form. 

I spent most of my time writing Tales of Morcah while deployed in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I have an Associates degree in Liberal Arts: Humanities and Social Sciences and have had ten articles published on  My most popular articles include: Should the U.S. Pull Out Its Troops Regardless of Whether Iraq is Ready to Defend Its People, Will There Ever be a Chance for World Peace, and How to Fight for what You Think is Right.  

My contact information is listed above.

Thank you for your time and consideration.  I look forward to hearing from you.

                                                                                      Emily T. White

This was actually a snail mail query, so the whole contact information line was right, but that's the only thing I did correctly.  Sigh.  Embarrassing.  

I still can't believe I sent this out before I finished writing the book.  *slaps forehead*  Oh well.  Live and learn.

~Emily White


  1. I love how you wrote that it was nearing completion at "50,081 words". There's so many things funny about that I can't even count them! Oh Emily, you poor baby!

    The good news is that the agent must have been grinning.


  2. Wow. What site advised you to do this? I need to avoid it.

    The idea of a Gatekeeper and a big ole door to evil sounds pretty cool though. It had that going!

  3. I sure hope you finish that book!

  4. I bet most of us have scary queries like - ones we wish we could take back and have a do-over! :-)

  5. Jai--Oh yes. That line was pretty much the kicker, wasn't it? Thankfully, I only sent this query out three times. Let's just hope the agents haven't put me on some sort of black list.

    Mesmerix--I actually can't remember the site name. I do know the guy gave an example of his successful query and I just basically copied what he did. The amount of helpful websites that have permeated the internet since that awful, black time is amazing and much appreciated.

    jdickinson--thanks, mom. :P

    Shannon--I sure hope I'm not the only one! Otherwise, that would just be embarrassing AND pitiful.

    Thanks for your comments, everyone!

  6. liking the new look Emily :) I'm in the midst of a do-over myself but I'm keeping my name cause i love it *grin* glad we haven't lost you for good!

  7. Oooh good luck with the query!

    By the way, if you want some more awesome (if long and detailed) advice on querying, I stumbled across a great blog. check under her querypalooza posts.


  8. Thanks, Misha! I actually wrote this query *years* ago and have learned a few things since then. This particular novel I queried for is in total rewrite mode at the moment, but hopefully will be ready for querying in a few months.

  9. Oh...the horrors of the query. Someone should write a book about that. Maybe they already have, a horror book. The good news is that your query was probably read by an employee and the agent/editor never saw it. That employee has now gone on to greener pastures and charges an enormous fee to teach people how to query.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  10. you know, the only mistakes that should embarass us are the ones we don't learn from.

    i'm going to second that mom of yours and say "get back to work on the rewrite!" :P


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