Ah, the dreaded query letter. The bait you lay gently on top of some leaves covering the enormous pit that is your novel, in the hopes that an agent will wander over and fall in and decide that it’s actually a pretty nice pit, now that they’re here. But which kind of bait is most effective? How much should you use? How can you get the agent to take YOUR bait instead of that other person’s over there?
(I recommend roasting a whole pig in the pit, but that’s just the Cuban part of me talking. Mmm, lechon.)
The wilds of the internet are full of sage advice about how to write a query letter, so I won’t throw in my two cents except to say that I think nailing the voice worked for me. Without further ado, here’s what I sent to my agent when I was querying CHILLING EFFECT.
In space, no one can hear you cagando en la mierda.
Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy agency that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva struggles through one unpleasant, dangerous mission after another to pay the ransom debt. To make things worse, she’s stuck with a hold full of psychic cats, a fish-faced emperor wants her dead for rejecting his advances, and her ship’s sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. Qué jodienda.
Chilling Effect, humorous science fiction that parodies pop culture and video games, is complete at 115,000 words but has series potential. My fiction is published in Nightmare Magazine and She Walks in Shadows, and I am a graduate of the Viable Paradise workshop.
I opened with a personal note, but some folks will counsel you to put that at the end rather than the beginning. I also mentioned that the agent had liked my #DVPit pitch, and reproduced that pitch so she’d remember it.
Hope this helps, and good luck with your bait and pit-digging!