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A CONSTRUCTIVE Criticism Community for Writers

Query letter

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Escher
Hey guys,

I'm back, and I have yet another query letter, um...query.

I'm looking at submitting Done With Mirrors to Tor, but I'm not really sure what I should be doing differently in a letter being sent direct to a publisher rather than a letter for an agent; so, here's what I have (largely thanks to the amazing powers of saraphina_marie), in the hopes that you can help me plane off the rougher edges and wind up with something that screams "Publish me!" Or at least maybe whimpers it.


Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Tor Books
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Dear Mr. Hayden,

I am submitting for your consideration my urban fantasy novel, Done With Mirrors, complete at 101,000 words. Mixing urban fantasy with secret history, Done With Mirrors depicts a “shadow culture” of magicians living in secret in modern-day San Francisco, wielding magical power based upon the traditions of chaos magic and Midwestern hoodoo.

“Black” Tom Holkins, a translator of legal and business documents, moonlights as a magus for hire to any patron willing to feed his hungry bank account. A former lover hires Tom for a simple job: steal a briefcase from a gang of homeless magi. Of course, no "simple job" ever is. Tom finds himself the victim of several powerful magical assaults, sparking a closer investigation which leads Tom to the machinations of John of Glastonbury, an immortal monk who will stop at nothing to ensure his eternal life, one agonizing year at a time.

The plot winds through this carefully detailed culture, complete with its own slang and etiquette, and examines the character of Tom. Tom’s conflicts with both magi and spirits, as well as his own shadowed past, reveal his complicated sense of honor and force him to confront that past and scrutinize his own behaviors. After a final showdown with John, Tom decides to abandon magic—but not before making one last deal to ensure that the magi of San Francisco believe he died a hero. After all, even a “bastard hero” like Tom needs to go out in a blaze of glory.

In addition to Done With Mirrors, I have also completed another urban-fantasy novel, Fair Folk. I am currently working on two other projects tentatively titled Ether Street and A Kindness of Ravens, as well as a loose sequel to Done With Mirrors entitled Neighborhood Watch.

Thank you for considering this proposal. I have enclosed a SASE for your reply, along with a detailed synopsis of Done With Mirrors. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Sincerely,

Tyler Hayes
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