Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blast from the past: query letter for SoS

I'd forgotten about this... A few years ago I submitted my query letter for Scarabaeus (as it was then called) to Evil Editor, who savaged it, as is his wont. Here's what he had to say.

Kristin Nelson blogs aplenty about query pitches, and you might get more mileage out of her posts on the subject. (Scroll down to Agent Kristin's Query Pitch Workshop on the right of her blog page.)

My final query letter to Kristin, the one that caught her eye--not that different from the one Evil Editor read--was as follows:

Dear Ms Knight, [Yes, I FORGOT TO CHANGE THE NAME from the previous email I'd sent. Reader, don't do that.]

I recently read Linnea Sinclair’s Gabriel’s Ghost. Your success representing women’s science fiction leads me to believe you would be an excellent agent for my work. Scarabaeus is a 110,000-word science fiction novel with a touch of romance.

Edie Shade has been trained since childhood by the oppressive Crib government to create and program advanced technology called “biocyph seeds”, which turn planets into habitable colonies. She is kidnapped for her valuable skills and coerced into working for mercenaries who steal biocyph and sell it to the outlawed Fringe worlds.

The dark and mysterious convict Finn is assigned to be her reluctant bodyguard. Their relationship is strained by the fact that he is motivated to protect her by a chip in his skull that will kill him if she dies.

With the authorities on their heels, the mercenaries take Edie back to Scarabaeus—the planet she first visited as a trainee, seven years ago. Awed by its beauty, she sabotaged that terraforming project in order to preserve the alien ecosystem.

But Scarabaeus has been evolving—under the control of mutated biocyph. As the mercenaries fall victim to the dangers of its terrifying jungles, Edie risks her life—and Finn’s—to save the world that her na├»ve meddling created.

Scarabaeus is the first of a series, to be followed by Children of Scarabaeus and Soul of Scarabaeus. I use futuristic concepts of genetic engineering as the backdrop for the novels.

I have a BS in Biology, and I was the associate editor of
Australia’s foremost SF magazine, Aurealis, for several years, before moving to the USA in 2005. I work as a textbook editor. If you are interested in considering representation, I’d be happy to send sample chapters or the complete manuscript.


Sara Creasy

Kristin ultimately rejected the full manuscript but gave tons of great feedback, so I rewrote it and resubmitted it, and now my book is on the shelves!


A. B. Keuser said...

That is wonderful! I, honestly, looked for your query on Kristin's blog (as she is known to post them from time to time with the author's permission) but alas it was not there!
I'm so glad you stuck with it and sent the revisions to her, because I love Song of Scarabaeus (and am impatiently awaiting the second installment).

MCPlanck said...

Hehe, I remember when Sara realized she'd called Kristin by the wrong name. It was literally the only query letter she made that kind of mistake with. And it was the only letter that really mattered.

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