Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Query Letters that Worked--mine for DESPITE THE GHOSTS

When I was deep in the throes of a query letter-induced nervous breakdown, I'd have given my left nostril to view an actual query letter that worked, along with the book it was written for--typically, you only get the former, without the latter.

Well, call me your Scary Godmother, but I've got mine for you. An actual query letter that worked, which you can then marry to DESPITE THE GHOSTS, my first book that was published. 

:) You're welcome.

As part of my Writers Paying it Forward Friday program, here's the query letter that got me a partial request from 2 agents and 2 publishers--which went on to translate to a full request and contract from The Wild Rose Press in 2009. My query title is different than the title we ended up with when TWRP contracted me (as there was already another book with "Ghost of a Chance" as a title), which proves you should never fall in love with your title, because your title won't love you back!)

You'll note, the query for what would become DESPITE THE GHOSTS has all of the necessary parts that I talked about in my Anatomy of a Query Letter post (click here for that), and I stuck to all of the Top 10 Query Letter Do's and Don'ts post (click here for the Top Ten list).

(FYI--This was an email query, so is formatted for email with no return address, date sent, etc. The name of the editor has been made generic for the purposes of this post.)

Dear/Attn Ms. Agent:
Nola Richards is pissed. Not only did the ghost looming at the end of her bed interrupt what had the makings of an amazing erotic dream, he’s intent on ruining her summer with his fragmented plea for help. Really, despite her skills as a spirit medium, parapsychology professor and psychic author, what is she supposed to do with “NOT SUICIDE” written in the steam on her shower door? 
When his ghostly antics scare off a paying client, it’s the last straw. Nola vows to solve this ghost’s mystery and insists on meeting with his bachelor brother, business tycoon and complete skeptic Parker Sebastian…and then bedding him. After having her first week of vacation ruined, her car stolen, and topping it off with her rough reception at Parker’s office, Nola figures breaking her two-year dry spell with the executive was her right. He owed her. 
For Parker, stepping outside of reality never felt so good—neither had the sex. It was perfect…except for the fact that Nola had a hand in killing his brother. How else could he explain her otherworldly knowledge of his brother’s death?
Nola must overcome Parker’s disbelief to help unravel his brother’s message and discover the real killer. Both of them will have to alter their version of ‘normal’ to give their love A GHOST OF A CHANCE.
Complete at 85,000 words, A GHOST OF A CHANCE is an edgy paranormal romance with a quirky, modern heroine (endowed with the ability to see ghosts), a hot executive (who is just plain endowed), and plenty of conflict, ghostly suspense and sex.
Unlike Nola, my publishing credits are more mundane. They include a year-long stint with as a Go-To writer, publishing a total of 22 “Stories from the Heart” and educational articles for their website. I have writing credits with several local newspapers, as well as training and sales materials created for corporate clients. I am an RWA member, as well as a member of Scribbler’s Ink, a Tampa-based writer’s group.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Best Regards, 
Dylan Newton
I hope being able to see an actual query letter that resulted in a publishing contract (along with being able to read the resulting novel) helps you avoid a query letter-induced nervous breakdown. 

And you didn't even have to give your left nostril to get it. Now that's what I call...

Happily My Ever After,

P.S. Want to see the whole structure necessary in every query letter? Click here and print off my Anatomy of a Query Letter post for your reference.

P.S. And make sure your query letter obeys the Top 10 Query Letter Do's and Don'ts by printing off my post here.


  1. Great query letter, and great post.

  2. Cute query! No wonder it generated a positive response!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Chrys! As a fellow TWRP author, let me know if you have a query letter you'd like to share and I'll feature you some Friday on my blog. :)

  4. This is a great query letter with a plot summary that could easily become your back cover copy and a humorous tone that draws the reader in. You finish it off with your writing credits. Excellent example!

    1. Thanks, Nancy! That means a great deal coming from a multi-published author such as yourself! :)