Hi, faithful readers,
I took a two month hiatus from the book after an agent in Florida agreed to look at the entire manuscript. I’m learning that the road from finishing a manuscript to actual publication is a lot longer and more fraught than I had expected.
The process goes like this. You send out a query letter and some chapters to pique the agent’s interest. If the writing and the subject strike a nerve the agent will ask to see the entire manuscript. Then the agent sells the thing for big bucks to a NY publisher and you’re on to fame and fortune.
I’m finding out that, one interested agent notwithstanding, the chances of a book ever getting published with the Big Boys in NY are close to nil. It’s important to submit to many agents (after doing a lot of homework about what they’re interested in), expect a raft of rejection letters (if they ever respond at all), and don’t give up the day job.
So in the interests of keeping you all up to date, here’s a sample of the query letter I send out to agents. You can be sure I’ll let you know as soon as there is some action on the other end of the fishing pole.
QUERY: ‘SUNRISE, YEOMANS COUNTY’
Overview: ‘Sunrise, Yeomans County’ is a coming of age story about social and racial prejudice, sexual predation, revenge, and redemption, with lifelong repercussions for all the main characters. I lived in both the Pacific Northwest and the Deep South during the Civil Rights era described in the story, nevertheless ‘Sunrise’ is almost totally a work of fiction.
Thanks for taking time to look at my work.
Mike DesCamp 503-407-3443 firstname.lastname@example.org
Synopsis: A message arrives from Yeomans, Georgia, signed only with the letter J, and Attorney Will Letour, comfortably retired in Portland, Oregon, is pulled back half a century to a place he has spent his entire life trying to forget.
After strife between his logging and oyster growing relatives in the Pacific Northwest tears his family apart, Will’s father is forced to accept work at a mill in Deep South Georgia. The family arrives at the height of the Civil Rights conflict – Catholics in a Baptist town, Yankees in a Confederate world.
Will’s brother Jack, his best friend and protector, withdraws into a life of football and moonshine. Will is bullied and ostracized. His only friends are Dal and Jenny, two other bookish outcasts. His father is unable to help him as he struggles to fit in.
Only two other adults play a strong role in his life. One is his Biology teacher, Jenny’s father, who educates him on Confederate history and venomous reptiles. The other is his music teacher, whose attentions are as dangerous as the deadly snakes that Will learns to handle.
The family’s time in Georgia is cut short after death strikes close to home, ugly and personal.
Now, fifty years later, Will is forced to face the part he played in another death, one that has haunted him his entire life. His only path to resolution and redemption will take him back to Yeomans County.