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My agent query letter

So here is a sample query letter I am sending to literary agents. It has been redrafted and refined and based on lots of helpful sites on the web which I am happy to share with you. So far I have written to 20. Its extensive work researching all the agencies, seeing what their requirements are and please look at the authors they represent and see if you could be a fit. So my question to you is

  1. do you like the query letter and does it sound interesting to you?

 

Hi there,

 

I’m writing to seek representation for my first novel, THE UNSUITABLE SUITORS, a comedic women’s fiction work of 95,000 words which is semi autobiographical in parts. While funny, the book has a big heart and a lot of cultural touchstones, and doesn’t veer away from the pain of lost love and regrets of wrong choices.

 

This book has had over 50 beta readers in the target audience of 22 to 40-year-olds and has been met with overwhelmingly positive responses, especially from Caucasian readers in North America and indian readers. “A treat,” “Witty, sassy,” and “hilarious,” it had readers and even editors leaving enthusiastic comments about a girl they called ‘The Indian Bridget Jones’ The main characters in this book are easy to relate to, vivid and memorable and the novel centres on a British Indian woman’s search for love. Her journey is complicated by the fact she is still in love with a man she met in the Australian bush. Her overbearing indian family are entertaining. They pile on the pressure for her to settle soon. As she searches for love, she also searches to find more joy from her livelihood and a deeper meaning from her life. Highly recommended to those looking for a rich story, that transports the reader from London, Australia to India and need a laugh along the way.”

 

Other readers had this to say—“Hysterical!” I would compare it to MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, only Indian. I think it has a lot of that feel.” “I adore the main character!” “I couldn’t wait to find out who was going to be The One!” “So sad it ended!”

I enclose the first 30 pages and a synopsis.

 

I have written a competition-winning play for Kali Theatre, independently produced short film sketches, and professional pieces on the campaigns of charities such as Breast Cancer Care and Consortium for Street Children. In addition to working as a writer’s intern at an online women’s’ magazine G3 and writing blog articles for Action Aid on third-world development issues, I have written a self-help book on finding the right man which is currently on sale on Amazon. I am also a member of a writers group and have attended writers’ courses by different novelists. This is my first novel.
 

I live with my husband in Berkshire and am currently working on my next novel. I have a website http://www.ninagillwriter.wordpress.com and twitter account, @theninagill.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours,

Nina Gill

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Novel Submissions Part One

So I have finished my book, yay! I am trying to get it published and that is like a full time job. There is so much information on the net on how to market your book. I have experience of this having published an e book of a self help book. However I thought it might be nice to get the help of a publisher to help me publish this a book. Its getting their attention that’s the hard bit. I know my book is good, I know it would make a fab movie. I still cherish the comment of one my editors who said ‘Your book is good, its different and original. I meet other writers who say you must sign our non disclosure agreement. They are so worried I might steal their book idea. When I read your book, I think, really, this is not worth stealing! But yours is’ I know she is joking but it gave me that warm, fuzzy feeling of validation from a person who knows!

 

So I am working my way through a list of publishers, written to 7 and only reached c-d of the list. I have already received a few no’s.

 

I think my character Nimmee needs to be discovered, to be read. She needs a publisher to help her reach the wider market. I have a another bright idea, that is to publish my book via Lulu. Lulu is super expensive, fourteen pounds per book from states. I can’t wait for my copy to arrive. This book will not sit on my bookshelf, it will be sent to a director. It will be sent Gurinder Chadha and see if she can envsion the characters jump off the page. I hope so. I have worked so hard on this book. 4 years. I have read so many books and done so many drafts to make it good. I think it is. Now I would like this book to reach its readers. Maybe she can help?

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editing and more editing- what I have learnt writing a novel

So in the final stages of finishing my book. Received it back from my editor and it has notes and comments all through it! A nice xmas present would have been receiving a blank manuscript and a comment from her saying its perfect and its good to go!

Next stage of fantasy would be it gets snapped up by a publisher and then shortly after gets made into a movie and I hang out with JK Rowling at her house for dinner.

What do we discuss? How the big Hollywood director bastardised our book and did not stay true to our vision or maybe just mine. But we enjoy the loose change rattling in our pockets and our trip to Barbados that year. She then advises me to start writing a sequel.

Right I am going to subscribe to the law of attraction and spend the next half hour manifesting this…..reality is just too dull to bear at the moment. Do you want the truth? I am going through the manuscript on christmas eve as my husband watches the expendables!

Merry christmas everyone and good luck with finishing your book!

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Finished my novel- What I have learnt- Part two

So it took more than three years to write my book. The first year I was naive and churned out a draft. But then I picked up great tricks from other writers….and did a redraft. I learnt how to write description better, improve the plot and make it gripping. I learnt more about simplifying characters and developing them. I learnt about having the much talked about show vs tell balance just right. I inserted more of the lead character’s thoughts into the book. I slashed away irrelevant things to the story.

This work was a case of redraft after redraft after redraft. A writer friend of mine described the redrafting process like polishing a turd. It can get like that. I was dedicated and fixated on getting the book finished. Ironically the more fixated I was on finishing it, the longer it was taking. I found I got better creative ideas to re-write things and perhaps I had just watched a film or read a book that gave me another new idea.

I recall on a birthday trip to Berlin with my husband. My husband surprised me with a lovely kirsch seventies hotel room which had a four poster canopy head in one corner with a flashing heart light over it. I was delighted and amused with it as well as discovering a desk in an adjoining room. My husband groaned as he knew I would spend a portion of our trip holed up in the corner, busy tapping away on the laptop. I did just this as I looked out onto the busy Berlin streets and I was not totally happy about it either. I was becoming one of those obsessed writers. We still enjoyed Berlin but looking back, perhaps I should have totally switched off and wrote when I returned. I am delighted to say I did finish the draft of the book I was working on at the time so I was feeling proud of myself on the return trip home to London.

However who was to know I would still spend another year working on this draft. I was not writing full time and was doing other other things but I did spend substantial chunks of my life writing. Sometimes  I did not meet friends so I could write. I did not retire with my husband snuggled up on the sofa to watch movies with him in the evenings so I could write instead. Usually I was on the desk next door or cuddled up in bed, tapping away. On weekends and weekdays when I was free, I spent long afternoons and evenings in coffee shops so I could write.

Sometimes I hated the writing. I hated reading and working on something I had first written a few years back. My mind was craving new projects now. Sometimes I hated the attention to details aspect which writing sometimes requires. Sometimes I wished my book was not 300 pages long so it would be easier to whizz through for a read through.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some great times when I wrote. When ideas flowed out of me, when the way the plot or characters should flow became clear. Sometimes hours passed by in a coffee shop and I was not sure where the time went. I was happy until I reminded myself how much more I still had to do. This writers is not a good thing to do! Enjoy the present moment without telling yourself how long the road really is.

Anyway its Dec 2014, I am waiting to see what my copy editor will throw at me after reading this so called final draft, but the light is at the end of tunnel….that is until next redraft, sending it off to publishers, (and jumping all their hoops!)

Sorry am I sounding really negative and hacked off….I am not, Just letting off steam and damn you Cecilia Aherne who said in her interview it took her 4 days to write a book! Liar.

 

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Finished my novel – What I have learnt- Part one

I have been writing my novel since 2011. Do you know I started writing it two weeks before I was due to get married? It was the gorgeous month of april (it actually was a sunny hot april-perhaps the weather gods forgot it was cold UK for a change). A recent interview by Cecilia Aherne stood out in my mind. Now she said she had the idea to write a book and it took her from starting the book on Tuesday and finishing it on Saturday morning in the same WEEK! I calculated that was 4 days. So of course I thought if she can churn one out in 4 days so can I! What a big mistake in my case! (FYI I have never read her books though I did see one of films that was based on her books) and I am also not sure I write anything like her.

I had an idea for a story and I was going to use a lot of real life anecdotes which my mind calculated meant would require even less brain power as I would not even have to sweat it out and make it up and use the old imagination.

How foolish I was! I am coming to the end of 2014 and am only wrapping this book up now! I am older and wiser than my original naive self. Yes I did get out a draft within 6 weeks working on it on and off. However my original draft was 44 pages long. It is now novel length at 320 pages. Whilst I wrote this novel I learnt about writing as I went along. I bought books from amazon on how to write, I dug out old notes from a creative writing course I did back in 2005. To spur me on, I remembered praise that was given to me by a writing teacher to write. I also started to read. I actually have not been a big reader since school. My life after school were spent in education, my job and traveling and social life.  So I made it a point to read a lot of books. I must have read about 60 books from a variety of authors and genres whilst I wrote. Reading alone can easily take up a few years of your life. However it was invaluable to see how the masters, like Mary Shelley wrote to contemporary writers to Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help” to books like White Tiger.

 

TO BE CONTINUED>>>>>>>>

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Promoting your book

The hard work is done, the e-book “How to Find the One” is finished! But my book is not up for sale in Waterstone’s or Barnes and Noble and in some flashy mall or high street store. Who is going to tell the world about my book? Who is going to tell ladies from 28 to 42, that are single and looking for love that my book could help them. Especially if they are busy. Who is going to alert them, that this book maybe their faithful companion? It contains all the nuggets of advice that I used to solve my love life woes and land a great husband!

That job is mine. Promotion and marketing of your own published works is a job in itself. I have to tweet regularly, but not so much that I bore people about my stuff. I have to approach other networks of single women. I am thinking of newspapers and radios now. I wish I could outsource all my promotion to a fairy godmother of marketing, as I also have a big fat novel to re-draft!

Marketing when you are a novice can be a tough task! But it is a necessary task so people discover and stumble on your work especially if it could help them! I am still at it as I am also having to juggle this task with many others. I think I sent out a tweet after a few weeks….shocking! I am hoping I get the word out about my book!

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Publishing my book on amazon

ImageI first wrote my book, “How to Find the One” about 4 years ago and published it on Amazon only a little while back. Writing the first draft is easy. It is writingthe subsequent drafts that are hard. Then on top of the creativity you need to have as a writer to make your work compelling, you also need to have an attention to detail. For me this is almost an opposite skill to creativity. Attention to detail is something I apply to accountants, number crunchers and not me!

Formatting, proof reading, and sorting typos can be very time consuming but it is an essential part of the job. Then there is the logistics of uploading it onto amazon kindle, tricky at first but once you figure it out it is ever so satisfying.

The ongoing job is promoting the book….this is work in progress and I know I need to do a lot more to get my book out to single women who would benefit from reading this great guide. 

All of this is super hard work when you are also writing a novel which I am!

Writing is hard work, often unrewarded, why do we do it, because it feeds our soul, it is an outlet for our creative thoughts and an outlet for our emotions. I wish all the writers out there, especially the ones who are awaiting for more material abundance from their work lots of success and hope your work improves on a daily basis and may you get the recognition and readers you deserve!