A few weeks ago, I completed my rough draft of my book. I have been working on this book for almost a year and a half and I’m excited for the next step. I am in the process of searching for a publisher that will help me to publish my book. To do this I need to send a query letter to a certain literary agent employed by a publisher in order to see if they are interested in my autobiography. Typically, these letters include a short bio and a brief synopsis of the book. However, some publishers have certain criteria and may even require a sample chapter in addition to the letter. This process is very similar to applying for a job. For example, you need to construct a cover letter that also requires a short bio as well as a summary of your work experience and explain why you believe that you fit the qualifications of the job.
Most publishers today require you to send the query letter via email. Sending one letter takes considerable time. Each publisher has specific guidelines and I have to ensure that I met each specification. So far I have sent three query letters. After sending the first one, I received a response the next day. But this particular publisher agent informed me that they are not taking on any new projects. This agent was very nice and gave me tips on how to improve my query letter by telling me to add more specifics about the plot and themes of my book. The second one was a considerable improvement and this publisher had more guidelines on what to include in their letter. I kept editing this letter and I even had my parents read it over and suggest corrections. It was kind of aggravating to make the letter as concise as possible without being too wordy. I still haven’t received a response but I sent another letter to another publisher. Thankfully I could use the majority of the previous letter for there were not many specifications mentioned by this agent.
As of now this is what my query letter looks like:
“My name is Michael McDonnell and I am a 25 years old and live in Philadelphia, Pa. I am afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy, which is a debilitating disorder that affects the strength of all of the muscles in my body. As a result I utilize a power wheelchair. I graduated from Holy Family University a few years ago with a B.A. in History. Some of my work related experiences revolved around writing. In 2012, I was an intern for a non-profit organization and my sole responsibility was to write grant proposals. For this task, I had to write in a convincing manner in order for the organization to receive much needed funds. In 2013 & 2014, I was a volunteer at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia and my task was to research and write about naval personnel. Most recently, I have been writing articles for my personal blog, which focuses on my life as a disabled individual as well as current events. All of these writing experiences have inspired me to recount my life as a disabled individual in an autobiography.
In this autobiography, I aim to showcase the positive as well as the negative experiences during my life with my disability. Throughout my life, I have experienced many personal battles that have tested my strength and in the end I have come out accomplishing more than I ever imagined. My mission thus far, has been to be considered a normal human being. I believe that I accomplished just that through my arduous journey through school and college. This book is divided into three main periods; grade school, high school and college. Before and after these sections, I additionally recalled important moments that occurred during my early life and subsequently my life after school. Within each period of my life, I made friends, lost friends, dealt with bullies and other social complications. These situations have forced me to develop a strong resolve and has helped me remain positive despite the issues that I was facing. In recounting my school years, I reflected on various classes that I took and the challenges I encountered. This book not only recounts my challenges but also shines a light on the happy moments within each time period such as fun vacations, good times with friends and my many hobbies that have kept me going. Overall, this book is about my disabled life and my quest to live a normal life despite my disability.
There are two constant themes throughout the book. One theme focuses on the positive and negative experiences of living with Muscular Dystrophy. The second theme revolves around my desire to lead a normal life despite my disability. Through those themes, I was able to describe how I handled situations and what specifically drove me to persevere and find the good within bad situations. I am still not finished in my mission to achieve a normal life. There are many difficult battles in my life and there are certainly more to come but in the end I hope to look back and realize that my struggles were truly worth it and that my life was in fact great.
I look forward to hearing back from you soon, so we can begin the process of publishing my book. Thank you very much for your time.”
If anybody has any suggestions to improve this query letter please comment. Also if anybody knows about the publishing industry I would gladly accept advice on how to best proceed.