Since this is such a big topic for those of us struggling to get our foot in the publishing door, I thought it would be both fun and educational for me to keep a small log of my progress.
A little background ...
This is the first manuscript I ever wrote, and if you had seen the original draft, it wouldn't take you long to figure that out. But after years (3, to be exact) of honing my skill, listening to others on forums, drinking a lot vodka, and, oh yes, agonizing through rewrite after rewrite, I'm ready to find an agent.
I initially attempted the query process a couple years ago, when I was trying to sell the original draft. Ack! Wow, was I clueless back then. It didn't help that I struggled with a daily battle against insomnia and a host of other unpleasant afflictions, but because of the miracle of holistic medicine, my mind and body and clear and healthy after years of struggles.
Anyways, I tried the self-publishing route, and shocking as it may be, I didn't strike gold. What I did get, though, were dozens of helpful responses from all types of readers, and without their insight, my manuscript would not be anywhere near what is is today. I know that may present some issues since I'm not selling the first-rights, but I don't see that I have much of a choice. I find it difficult to promote my own work without feeling like I'm spamming, so I'd like some assistance in that department from a true professional.
So without further delay ... Today, I sent out my first query. I located the agent by doing a google search for "fantasy literary agents" and about 5th down the list was this link, http://www.wrhammons.com/fantasy-literary-agents.htm
This site lists agents for all genres, and they're broken down so that you can search by category. The first agent that I found to my liking I did a little research on by reading his bio and what books he's published, and then I structured my query appropriately to give it a more personal touch. Here is the letter:
Dear Mr. xxx,
I’m querying because, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, you appreciate strength, passions of the heart, and their ability to coalesce into something extraordinary. The characters in SERVANT OF THE LICH not only possess the inner strength of a Wolfskin, their depth and complexity touches the inner soul. <----he published a book called Wolfskin and he's a big F. Scott Fitzgerald fan.
Hannibal thought he would never serve the lich again, but when his master uncovers the power he needs to conquer Andora, he demands Hannibal’s services for one final task. Hannibal wants to deny the lich, but the price is simply too high. His master holds his life force in a phylactery, as well as that of his true love, Elanor. Hannibal’s every breath is for her, and the lich promises the couple’s freedom if he completes the task, but Hannibal must decide if he can live a quiet life with Elanor if it costs a nation’s suffering.
As Hannibal wrestles with his dilemma, a group of friends, caught in the crosswinds of destruction sweeping across Andora, come together to fight back against Hannibal and the lich. In the conflict’s depths they discover something both frightening and awe-inspiring: it’s not chance that brought them into this worldwide struggle, it’s fate.
SERVANT OF THE LICH, set in the socially progressive, diverse nation of Andora, is a fast-paced, character driven fantasy of 88,000 words that takes place over the span of one week. Fans of R.A. Salvatore's THE CRYSTAL SHARD and the mystery elements of Stephen King’s novels should find this work to their liking.
Like many first time novelists, my credentials lie in my passion for fantasy literature and my lifetime of experiences. I recently completed the final rewrite of this novel and I’m seeking representation. Thank you for your time and consideration,
If anyone finds any interest in this thread, please feel free to comment and as I continue my search I will post updates.