Tag Archives: query letter

yeah x 3: i just got signed to a book publisher

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hardwork does pay off in the end. i starting writing my first book, the taste of scars, in 2005 while working for two newspapers while living in ann arbor. newspaper writing was my life. i stopped working for the newspapers to focus on writing the book. at times, i thought why am i doing this. in 2006 after the first draft was finished i submitted a query letter to a literary agent at writer’s house in nyc. he nicely wrote this letter.

Thanks Victor, but I’m afraid this isn’t right for me. By the way, the manuscript looks too short. Most novels should be closer to 70,000 words at least.

i was devastated but kept writing (2007) and kept writing (2008) and kept writing (2009) and kept writing (2010) and kept writing (2011). 45,000 more words, 50 drafts, and 10 new added chapters later my best friend sent me an email to check out a small publishing company, AddisonCraft, in Houston. I sent them my revised (40 drafts) query letter. About a week later they requested the first two chapters and a headshot. In March, I received an email that they wanted to sign me and publish my book.

In my head I saw book tour. As an artist (word artist) I believe art doesn’t exist until it is viewed, read, or heard.

The scheduled release date in June 2011. I will put up a schedule of the book tour. The first stop – Miami.


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3 new query letters or my vision board sucks

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I read “The Secret” about a year ago. In Secret, the author suggests that the secret to everything you want in life can be yours and the way to get it is to change your mind. Or change the way you see yourself.

Bend yourself, not the spoon.

If you think you’re a writer you will be a writer. You have to visualize, conceptualize, and do things necessary to get your writing published.

One step is to create a vision board. Put the things you want most in life on a board (my board is a wall). You’ll see the board everyday and it will make the universe realign and give you what you want.

The things I want:

  • I want a literary agent
  • I want to be published
  • I want to pay off my credit cards
  • I want to move to Los Angeles
  • I want to visit Brazil

It’s getting harder and harder not to get discouraged. I sent a query letter to an agent at 10:30am today. She wrote me back in 5 minutes.

Apologies not for me.

I want a life without waiting for someone else to tell me I’m worthy. I want a life without worrying how I am going to pay my rent. Some days, as a gay black man, it seems easier to escape everything. Move away from the city. Move to Spain or Brazil and start running drugs or stripping or surfing or selling ass on a webcam.

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When does the editing process stop

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I think getting rejected by literary agents has made me a better writer.

My first rejection came two years ago. I was waiting on my editor to send me his inked up thoughts on the last five chapters. I had the publishing bug. I couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted to be published no matter what my editor thought. I submitted a query letter to an agent at Writer’s House. I studied some website I googled on how to write a query letter and wrote what I thought was brilliant.

Hardcore rapper 50 Cent meets Zane and realizes he’s gay

Dear agent,

Xitonce (pronounced existence), my novel, is an urban story about a young African American male caught in a love triangle with a man who suffers from panic attacks and a politician on the down low (dl) running for public office. From their story, a gripping story unfolds from a love letter that catapults the reader through an unforgettable tale of Detroit’s Black upper class community, homophobia in Peru, faking a marriage to gain citizenship, and two detectives trying to find a sadistic killer.

Like all urban novels Xitonce includes personal reflection, sex, crime, and revenge. However it veers from other works such that five very different characters reveal through their own stories how there are no coincidences in life but a single line of events that connect people.

Xitonce is one of few down low fiction works that is literary first, where many down low books falter and written to appeal to the mainstream literary audience. The result is a roller coaster showing how emotions can lead people to the lower depths of society.

As a young writer, I am looking for an experienced agent and I am thoroughly impressed with your agency.

The novel is 48,338 and fully complete. I am sending you the first five pages of Xitonce as stated in your submission guidelines.

I thank you for your time and consideration.

The agent responded less than five yours later.

Thanks, but I’m afraid this isn’t right for me.

By the way, the manuscript looks too short. Most novels should be closer to 70,000 words at least.

I was upset at first but relieved too. It wasn’t time for my book to be released.

I started sending out a new query letter two years after I sent my query to Writer’s House. I have received about five rejection letters. With each letter, I have thought over some of the dialogue and descriptive paragraphs that didn’t flow or fit well with the rest of the story. I have revised almost 20 chapters since I thought I was finished with the book.

Last week, I sent off an updated query letter to my editor. My last query letter was a little boring. I let my editor reader it. He said it wasn’t suspenseful enough. I rewrote it and rewrote it. The final current version is more suspenseful than the other versions have been.

I wanted to get my editor’s approval before sending off the new query letter to another agent. One agent I was interested in sending a query letter too requests that new writers send her the first 50 pages of their work. I reread chapter 3 (pages 30-49) and realized that I didn’t love the chapter.

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Queer eye for the query letter

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“Estimated time to write a query letter can take one month to one year,” says Ginny Wiehardt, the fiction writing expert at About.com.

To an unpublished writer a literary agent is like a bridge. A connection to oh the possibilities. Oh the advances.

To get a literary agent a writer has to write a query letter that will make the sky open up and celestial angels will sing and pick you out from the hundreds of other humans trying to reach Olympus and get published by God.

As a gay writer who writes lgbt themed material I shorten the number of spiritualized agents I can query by more than a half. I have received a number of rejection emails from literary agents. Maybe it’s my query letter, I thought yesterday, after a very queer agent rejected my query. I am rewriting my query letter. Query letters are not easy to write. Agents want query letters to mirror your work and be like a Target commercial but in words and follow specific guidelines. A frustrating process.

I stare at the blank page. Blue ink is scribbled in the margins. I am trying to inspire myself. Words are difficult to find. A sentence. A need a first sentence. Ever since watching The Hours I start a new work by saying I need a first sentence. Ten minutes later I do not have a first sentence. I am hoping to hear from the other literary agents I queried to not have to write another query letter. My current query letter is my sixth draft. I refresh my my gmail account. Nothing.

I need to channel my inner Shakespeare. Maybe if I think positively about it I can ask the law of attraction to make me write more like Shakespeare. I wonder what inspired Shakespeare or the great romantic writers. Were there any great writers during the beat period who were left unnoticed becuase they could not get published. Self publishing becomes more and more attractive per rejection email.

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Rejection Letter #4

Dear Author:

Based on your email query we have decided not to pursue representation. We thank you for contacting us and we wish you success in finding a publisher for your work.

Cordially 100th Literary Agent

I’m thinking about turning to a life of Internet crime. I thought after I finished writing my book that I could write to a publisher, they’d love my query, give me a $20,000 advance, and I could move to L.A. and live the Hollywood life among the other young and poor.

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I mailed off another proposal to Redbone Press today and I emailed four other agents. I found another potential publisher who deals primarily with black and/or gay and black writers. Had I known I had to write queries, proposals, chapter summaries, and research similar books, I would have done so along with writing the book. It took me three years to complete The Taste of Scars. I’m going to research more smaller presses and university presses.


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Rejection Letter #2 from Literary Agent

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Dear Author,

I’m sorry for this impersonal response but I wanted to get back to you
quickly. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m the ideal champion of your
manuscript. I’m not entirely convinced I’d be able to secure its
publication. Though I’m passing, I’m sure other agents will feel
differently and will know exactly to whom your work should go. Good
luck and thank you for thinking of me.

With best wishes,

20th Literary Agent

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Rejection Letter #3 from Literary Agent

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Thanks so much for your query. Unfortunately, though, I don’t believe I’d be the right agent for your work.

I wish you much success.

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