Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's time to relax

Over the past three days, I have completely re-worked my manuscript. I have a new query letter that I really like. And I'm now at a point where I honestly feel like I've done everything I can do to get The Devil You Don't Know published.

(Thanks, Anne!)

Oh, there's one more thing, I guess. I have to write a synopsis. Damn it. I have a secret that I'm going to share here for the first time: I have been purposely avoiding agents who require a synopsis in the hope that I could just, you know, skate around it.

Yeah. Right. Not going to happen. So tomorrow, after I mow the entire yard and before I make dinner and then take the kid to his first Little League game of the season, I am going to try to kind of start writing a synopsis.

Damn it.

I sent three more queries tonight with the new query letter and shiny new manuscript just ready to pounce on the world. Ahem. Anyway, I really got my courage up and queried .... wait for it .....

Nathan Bransford!

I know. It'll never happen for several reasons (not his cup of tea, not his kind of writing, too adult, etc.), but what the hell. Since I figure he'll reject me like he does 99.99999999 percent of writers who query him, I figured I might as well get it out of the way.

I sort of expected the rejection fairly soon, since he's like super-human when it comes to the speed in which he rejects people (although he does it nicely, I'm told; I'll let you know). But then I remembered that the series finale of Lost is tonight, so I figure that'll keep him occupied for the entire evening.

So I should hear from him in the morning. (Yay, he says weakly.)

I've decided to post the latest incarnation of my query tonight for you guys to sniff around and rip to shreds should the desire strike you. Seriously, if you guys see anything that needs work, please tell me. I still have lots of prospective agents left -- including all of my A list with the exception of Nathan. So I can still tweak this baby.

Thanks in advance. Here it is:

Dear Mr. Bransford,

Newspaper editor Michael Reed takes a frantic call from a former nun, begging him to meet her son, the resurrected Jesus Christ in the form of fifteen year old Jordan Crane. Michael blows her off as just another crackpot.

When Michael's son is hit by a car, his fragile faith is tested in ways he could not have imagined when Jordan Crane places his hands on his son's dead body—and brings him back to life. A skeptic by nature, Michael questions his own sanity.

Michael soon learns Jordan needs him to lead a small group of average people into the greatest spiritual battle of all time—the last fight between God and Satan. Can they save the world? Is this kid really the Son of God? Or has Michael truly lost his mind?

As he suspends his disbelief and rationalizes the miracles Jordan Crane keeps delivering, Michael's newspaper instincts take over and he knows he must tell the world this story. It's not an assignment he relishes.

THE DEVIL YOU DON'T KNOW is a thriller complete at 114,000 words.

As a career journalist, I've received a dozen national, regional, and state awards from the Associated Press and the Illinois Press Association for writing and reporting.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I would be delighted to send you the first three chapters.

Very truly yours,

Terry L. Towery
[contact info redacted]


  1. Terry, I love it!

    Well done, you. All the best :)

  2. Short and sweet. It's looks good to me, but what do I know about queries yet? I'm here to cheer you on and offer support because you rock, that's really all I know.

  3. That's so weird! I just sent my very first query letter ever on Saturday, to Nathan. I expect the rejection this morning, too.

  4. That's awesome you used NB as your example. There's no question he is the best agent in the world.

    I also agree that synopses are the one aspect of getting published that sucks more than writing a query letter. Make sure to get lots of input from other writers.

  5. Synopses: the publishing industry's last shot at a writer's sanity.

    I love your query! It's concise, it's clear, it's professional. Good luck!

  6. Can't believe you sent a query without a synopsis. You know how long it took to get your query where you wanted it? Well, triple it for the synopsis.

    Alas, I speak from the doleful voice of experience.

  7. Considering the avalance of form rejections I'm still getting (yes, Nathan said no), I suspect not having a synopsis might be the least of my problems!

    That said, the agents I've queried so far do not require a synopsis - not once during the process.

    And Cheryl, thanks for stopping by! It's good to see you outside the Writers Digest site. :)

  8. very nice query letter! Good for you and good luck with your synopsis!

  9. I think the query letter is good and I like the ending where you establish that you've been a life-long journalist, which would separate you a bit from the others. I'm glad you're not giving up!

  10. I think your query is awesome! I'd read this book, I can tell you that. Sorry about the Nathan rejection, and I feel the same way about writing a synopsis.

    Keep going, though. I think this manuscript sounds like a winner. It only takes one yes, right?

  11. Grr. Synopsis are torture. (I've found it helps to summarize each chapter 1st and go from there.)

    Remember, all it takes is one agent who's interested. The rejections are pointless and worth less than the weight of all their emails put together.


  12. Nathan is who I queried first. It actually took him over a week to get back to me. I think he was in Mexico or something at the time, or just back from it. That feels ages ago, but it was just February.

  13. I queried Nathan for the same reason; to get it over with. And his rejection was very polite, but still standard.

    I like this query, and the book sounds super intriguing. I'm not sure you should put in the questions however. Most of what I read on Agent blogs says they hate questions - especially rhetorical ones - in the query. These two have had a lot to say on the matter.

    Hope you have better luck with the other agents you queried.