Query Letters by Guest Author Melissa Mickelsen

When I decided to try to publish my first novel, I went with small publishers, hoping for a more personal experience. A major publisher that shall remain unnamed brought on this decision. The large publishing house had an open call for manuscripts, so I edited, formatted, printed, labeled, and mailed mine. I included a cover letter that I had labored over for hours. I even purchased delivery confirmation so I would know when they received my manuscript. Then I received a rejection notice dated the same day that they had received my novel. It was clear they had not even read it. I was hurt, discouraged, but resolved to try again.

I rewrote my cover letter, using resources I found online, and morphed it into a query letter. The query letter is probably the most important part of the process. It is the first thing an editor looks at when they touch your manuscript.

Several good resources include:





I found several publishers on Duotrope.com that dealt with fantasy novels and sent off my query letters. Each publisher had different ways they wanted the manuscript formatted and they had different ways they wanted them sent. I had to tailor each submission to various guidelines, which could be tedious, but not sticking to guidelines is an easy way to get the editor to dismiss your manuscript immediately.

I learned a lot about the submitting process over the course of my first novel. The most important lesson is not to give up. It is easy to get discouraged over rejections, especially when it is obvious that they have not even glanced at your manuscript. Remember that not all publishers are the same. Smaller publishers may give your manuscript more personal attention than a larger one would, so do not be afraid to submit to them, too.

Find out more about Melissa Mickelsen on her Webpage

Read her novel Nighingale

Available at Amazon

FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY: “In a world where most humans have a superstitious fear of the elf-like, tree-dwelling anthelai, a half-anthela girl, a rarity considered a demon by the human population, survives the brutal destruction of her home only to be enslaved by the rapacious human Guildmaster Lorcen Caspon. As the mysterious assassin known as the Nightingale, she spreads death and terror until faced by a determined opponent of equal skill: Astin Talros, a general in service to the king. Her struggle to escape Caspon and avenge her family’s death becomes a race against her relentless pursuit by Talros, who, unaware that she acts under compulsion, is sworn to destroy her. Effectively melding briskly-paced action with the internal struggles of both a traumatized young outcast forced into horrific deeds and the wily but honorable Talros. Debut author Mickelsen brings fresh twists and emotional depth to her tightly-written, compelling tale of mercantile politics, interracial conflict, and difficult choices.”



About jlwylie

Stay at home mom of 2 boys, avid reader and writer. Published by Untold Press

One thought on “Query Letters by Guest Author Melissa Mickelsen

  1. las artes says:

    Whether you’ve just typed “The End” on your first novel or are dabbling with an outline for a nonfiction title you’ve always wanted to write, sooner or later you’ll need to pique a publisher’s interest in reading it. When you stop to consider that publishing houses receive tens of thousands of unsolicited manuscript inquiries per year, it’s clear to see that only those letters that really hook their interest from the very first sentence are destined to become other than shredded mattter. Here are some tips on how to make your cover letter stand out from the competition.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s