Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Please Send Your Complete Manuscript

The five words every author wants to hear. Though they're not nearly as exciting as "we'd like to offer you a contract", they are a creaking, groaning sign that a door has opened for you.

On the heels of Steeple Hill's announcement that the Love Inspired Suspense line will be increasing to 4 books a month in February 07, I'm thinking there is no time like the present for aspiring RS writers to get their queries ready.

Step one in writing a winning query - name your editor. Which, of course, means know who the acquiring editor for the line is. For Love Inspired Suspense, you'll want to send to Melissa Endlich or Diane Dietz.

Step two- write a short back cover blurb for your book. Make it a good one. Something compelling that is sure to grab the editor's attention.

Step three- explain the length and genre of your book and give a brief summary of your audience.

Step four- give a brief bio including any publishing credits.

Finally, package it in a one page letter that is a quick, professional portrait of who you are as a writer.

Here's an example -

Dear Ms. Endlich,

Sophie Manchester is sure her life is exactly what she wants it to be. A thirty-something suspense author, she's got a nice house, a good job, and enough friends to keep her from dwelling on what she doesn't have - love. When gun shots and screams interrupt Sophie's late night run, she calls 911 on her cell phone and races toward the sound. A dark sedan speeds away from a local park, and Sophie is sure she's seeing a murderer escape. Unfortunately, the police find no evidence of a crime.

When quiet knocks on the windows of her ranch-style home become scratching, shrieking moans that wake her during the dead of the night, Sophie turns to police detective Eli Williams for help. At first Eli is convinced Sophie is hearing nothing but echoes of her overactive imagination, but as he gets to know the practical, soft-hearted woman he suspects there is much more than that going on.

Together, Sophie and Eli work to uncover a plot that goes beyond gun shots in the dark and nightmare whispers in the night. What they find threatens to topple a powerful politician's family. If it doesn't destroy them both first.

A WOMAN ON THE BRINK OF INSANITY is a novel of inspirational romantic suspense. Approximately 65,000 words in length, A WOMAN AT THE BRINK will appeal to readers who enjoy books by Hannah Alexander and Colleen Coble.

An avid reader of inspirational romance and a fan of the Love Inspired Suspense line, I recently finaled in the Genesis contest in the romantic suspense category, and placed second over-all in the Touched by Love contest. As I writer, I enjoy the challenge involved in creating suspenseful stories that contain a strong romantic thread and a vital faith journey.

May I send you my completed manuscript?


Hope Full Author


Lynette Eason said...

Hi Shirlee,

Ooooo, please tell me that's a real book you're working, cause I want to read it. I'm just about ready to send in the big "Q" letter, but want to keep polishing the manuscript a little more. I think my query letter is fine, it's just when they get the editor getst the manuscript that things tend to fall apart for me.


Shirlee McCoy said...

It's always best to have your manuscript polished before querying, so I'm glad to see that's what you're doing, Lynette. A great query can open doors. Only a great manuscript can keep those doors from closing!

Shirlee McCoy said...

Oops, I forgot. I came up with that query off the top of my head. However, it's appealing. I may just write the story!

Michelle said...

Wow! Love the letter and the steps. It will really come in handy when I query my story. Of course, that would require me to actually finish, rewrite, edit and polish it. Guess I'd better get started!

Michelle's Writing Space

Shirlee McCoy said...

Michelle, Michelle, Michelle. Never ever tell me you need to finish. That's like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Now I'll be bugging you for weekly word counts.