Thursday, August 31, 2023

Butterflies Die Young by Thomas Faithe (Author)



Butterflies Die Young

Crafting the Perfect Query Letter: A Guide for Aspiring Authors

Every aspiring author knows that writing a book is only half the battle. The next step, often equally daunting, is getting it into the hands of those who can bring it to the masses: literary agents. And the bridge between authors and agents? The query letter. A well-crafted query letter can be the difference between the manuscript gathering dust or being showcased on bookstore shelves.

Understanding the Query Letter:

A query letter is a formal letter offering a submission to agents or publishers. Typically, it's one page and serves as the initial introduction of the author and the manuscript. It should encapsulate the essence of your book, your writing style, and a hint of who you are as an author.

Components of a Successful Query Letter:

  1. Salutation: Address the agent by their full name. Avoid generic greetings like "Dear Agent."

  2. Introduction: Begin with any personal connection or why you chose this particular agent. If you met them at a conference or webinar or if you're a fan of one of the authors they represent, mention it.

  3. Hook: This is the attention-grabber. In one or two sentences, offer the premise of your story. Make it intriguing and reflective of your writing style.

  4. Synopsis: In a concise paragraph, provide an overview of your story. Include the main plot, the central conflict, and the character's journey.

  5. Information about Your Book: Mention the title, genre, and word count. If your book is part of a planned series or if it's a standalone, specify here.

  6. Bio: A brief note about yourself. Include any previous publications, relevant background, or interesting tidbits that make you stand out.

  7. Closing: Thank the agent for their time and consideration. State any enclosures, like sample chapters or a synopsis, if requested in their submission guidelines.

  8. Signature: End with a professional sign-off.

Tips and Real-Life Examples:

  1. Keep it concise: Agents receive dozens of queries daily. Yours should stand out but not because of its length. J.K. Rowling's initial query for "Harry Potter" was concise, presenting the crux of her story without unnecessary embellishments.

  2. Personalize your query: No agent likes a generic letter. Tailor each query to the agent you're reaching out to. For instance, when querying for "The Hunger Games," Suzanne Collins could have mentioned her interest in an agent who appreciates dystopian young adult fiction.

  3. Proofread: Ensure your query is free of typos and grammatical errors. A well-polished letter, like "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern, can instantly make a great impression.

Sample Query Letter for Dr. Melissa Caudle's "Reborn"


Sample Query Letter for Dr. Melissa Caudle's "Reborn"

[Your Address]

[City, Zip Code]

[Email Address]

[Phone Number]



[Agent's Name]

[Agency Name]

[Agency Address]

[City, Zip Code]


Dear Ms. [Agent's Last Name],

I am reaching out to you after coming across your impressive representation of authors in the paranormal genre, and I believe my manuscript, "Reborn," aligns perfectly with your expertise. The battle between good and evil has been eternal, but what if the line between them becomes blurred? "Reborn" delves into this tantalizing premise. As supernatural entities and humans collide, their stories intertwine, leading to an explosive climax where destinies are forever altered. "Reborn" is a paranormal fiction novel, complete at 85,000 words. It stands alone but has potential for sequels, exploring the vast, intricate world of the supernatural.

A bit about me - I am Dr. Melissa Caudle, a seasoned author with several books to my name. My background in psychology provides a unique lens through which I craft my characters, infusing them with depth and realism.

Enclosed are the first three chapters and a synopsis per your submission guidelines. I am eager for you to dive into the world of "Reborn" and am hopeful for a positive response. If you need clarification or more information please feel free to reach out to me at: or call me at (XXX-XXX-2546.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Warm regards, Dr. Melissa Caudle


A query letter is the first step on the journey from manuscript to published book. While the process may seem daunting, remember that every successful author once stood where you are now. With research, persistence, and a touch of personal flair, your query letter can open doors to the literary world. Happy querying!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Embarking on the literary journey is akin to setting sail on vast, unpredictable waters. The destination? The prized publishing agent who can anchor your work in the literary world. But, with myriad voices clamoring for attention, how does one get noticed and ultimately sign with an agent? Let’s embark on this quest together.

1. Craft a Captivating Manuscript:

Your manuscript is your first impression. Make it unforgettable.

Example 1: J.K. Rowling’s initial manuscript of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" was rejected numerous times, but its inherent charm eventually won agents and publishers alike.

Example 2: Kathryn Stockett’s "The Help" was reportedly rejected 60 times. However, her determination and the manuscript's compelling nature eventually found it the perfect agent and later, massive success.

2. Master the Art of the Query Letter:

This is your elevator pitch in written form. Be concise, clear, and captivating.

Example 1: Nicholas Sparks’ query for "The Notebook" was short and to the point, yet it encapsulated the essence of his story, leading to quick interest from agents.

Example 2: Erin Morgenstern’s "The Night Circus" had a query that was mysterious and engaging, drawing agents into her magical world.

3. Research, Research, Research:

Not all agents are created equal, nor are they looking for the same thing. Find those who align with your work.

Example 1: Neil Gaiman targeted agents known for their inclination towards fantasy, ensuring his work landed on the right desks.

Example 2: Margaret Atwood, with her unique blend of literary fiction and speculative themes, sought out agents who had a penchant for unconventional narratives.

4. Attend Literary Conferences and Workshops:

Such events aren't just for honing your craft; they're networking goldmines.

Example 1: Sabaa Tahir, the author of "An Ember in the Ashes," made connections at a Writers' Conference that eventually led her to her agent.

Example 2: Ransom Riggs, known for "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," leveraged relationships from graduate school and writing workshops to connect with his agent.

5. Embrace Rejections and Persevere:

Each rejection is a stepping stone. Learn, adapt, and keep pushing forward.

Example 1: Stephen King’s "Carrie" was rejected 30 times. King almost gave up, but with encouragement and perseverance, he eventually found an agent who believed in his work.

Example 2: Lisa Genova, author of "Still Alice," faced countless rejections. She contemplated self-publishing before ultimately landing an agent, and the rest is history.

6. Maintain an Online Presence:
In the digital age, a notable online footprint can make you more appealing to agents.

Example 1: Andy Weir, author of "The Martian," started his journey by posting chapters of his book online, garnering a significant following, which later intrigued agents and publishers.

Example 2: E.L. James started "Fifty Shades of Grey" as fan fiction online, and its popularity led agents to her doorstep.

Potential Literary Agents Accepting New Authors:

(Disclaimer: While the list below provides a starting point, it's crucial to visit each agent's website or agency page to understand their specific requirements and interests.)

  1. Eve Attermann at WME – Interested in literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, and young adult.

  2. Kurestin Armada at Root Literary – Looking for speculative fiction, magical realism, and literary fiction.

  3. Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency – Enjoys commercial and literary fiction and has an inclination towards women’s fiction.

  4. Sarah Burnes at The Gernert Company – Prefers literary fiction and non-fiction.

  5. Noah Ballard at Curtis Brown, Ltd. – Interested in literary debuts, upmarket thrillers, and narrative nonfiction.

  6. Jessica Watterson at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency – Loves romance in all forms, women's fiction, and select young adult fiction.


Landing a publishing agent is an expedition filled with highs and lows. It's not just about the destination but also about the journey – the learnings, the rejections, the small wins, and the eventual triumph. By crafting a compelling manuscript, building networks, persevering, and ensuring you approach the right agents, your literary dream can indeed become a reality. As the story of every successful author shows, behind each bestseller is an author who never gave up. Happy querying!