Sunday Archive: Intro & Query Letter

I recently noticed that my primary Gmail account is using 50% of the allotted space, which means I have an alarming number of emails sitting around.  Most of them can be trashed, so I decided to be productive and go back into the archives.  Instead of watching MacGyver all day, I’ll sort through thousands of emails!  And post some here.

The oldest ones are from 2002, and there are lots of half-written articles for GS (as well as a few that made it to the front page).  So I figured, instead of deleting those, I’ll post them here every Sunday!  That way, my dear readers, you can chart the downward spiral of my sanity and meager writing ability over the last few years.

I’ll not edit them, either, because that’s how lazy I am.

We’ll start off with the template query letter that I spammed around to small presses trying to sell my science fiction novel (which is currently propping open my bedroom door).  I pretty much hit all the groovy sounding small presses in the Fulton guide to small presses and lit mags.  The query letter sucks, the story (today) makes me cringe, and about 39 publishers rejected me.

This is from August of 2002:

Dear ———-,

Thank you for the opportunity to write this query letter.  I read about ——— in the Little Magazines & Small Presses guide edited by Len Fulton.  I am writing concerning my manuscript, Judgment Day.  It is a finished manuscript at just over 78,000 words and has not been previously published.

Judgment Day is a time-travel adventure story set in 2002. Daryl Gillette survives the apocalypse only to face malevolent men and women who possess superhuman strength.  They call themselves the Evolved and they are the victims of a virus that has been released by the downed Mir space station.  Along with a group led by a demented literary agent, they set out to take over the world.  Daryl and a small band of compatriots are all that stand in the way.

They are soon contacted by a psychologist, Dr. Whittier, who tells them that he works for a private foundation which has developed an untested time machine.  Daryl and his fellow survivors must take action to stop the Evolved from using the device and changing history.  After numerous clashes with the Evolved and their army, Daryl and two of his friends are inadvertently thrown back five years along with a single agent from the Evolved.  Without contacts, and with no way to function in the past, Daryl and his friends seek out Daryl’s uncle, a down on his luck writer and UFO hunter.  With the intention of gathering wealth and power, the four end up altering history and plagiarizing the Harry Potter series, under Daryl’s uncle’s name.  Thanks to their future knowledge, and stolen books, they adjust the timeline during a five year hunt for the Evolved agent. Along the way they face relentless enemies and their own shortcomings.  The background mechanics of our own modern history are all played out while Daryl, his allies, and the Evolved agent hunt each other, ultimately coming to a showdown in New York on September 11th, 2001.  But, by then, the Evolved have begun to multiply – infected astronauts and scientists from the Mir station are drawn to each other and begin to form the nucleus of the Evolved army.  Meanwhile, the demented literary agent, given knowledge of the future by an unwitting Daryl, has developed his own cult that brings him into contact with the Evolved.  The battle continues.

Finally, with the assistance of Dr. Whittier’s Foundation, Daryl and his friends find a loophole that allows them to reorder the timeline and win the day.  A genetic researcher, working for the Foundation, is able to develop a serum that will wipe out the virus.  With the assistance of the government, which supports the Foundation after 9/11, the Evolved are successfully eradicated and the apocalypse averted.

I had envisioned the story in three parts, the first of which is completed, though I’m certainly willing to work with your needs.

I hope that you will consider reviewing my work.  I’ll be glad to provide more details and answer any questions that you may have.  Feel free to contact me anytime.


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