Category Archives: Queries

Queries to Agents and Publishers

Querying… Again

Hello everyone! Let me know if this query letter gets your literary glands salivating!

Christians are the terrorists America must hunt after their attack at the inaugural address.

President Andrew Rakford’s promises of peace, shaken by the Inaugural massacre, will not go unchallenged. The deadly attack, claiming six hundred sixteen lives, preludes the investigation that alters the plans Rakford once had. Further attacks at Fort Lauderdale, on mothers of military, and innocents on the Golden Gate Bridge intensify the hunt. As intelligence rushes the White House, Rakford escapes to his secret location within meditation, while the lines of religion and terrorism are blurred by his most trusted men. Shell casings within armored vehicles reveal government involvement to a regime identified as the “Army of God;” a group-mind set on the idea of government overthrow to prevent the end times and ever looming presence of the antichrist. Marking Rakford as their number one suspect rattles trust through the government, throwing any Christian into suspicion. Now dubbed “The Great Christian Revolt” a war begins that may never end, hurling the world into Revelations and adding new meaning to the number six hundred sixteen.

Oooooohhhhh!

Thanks for reading!
Caleb A. Mertz

Top 10 Ways I could Avoid Writer’s Agony

With every day that passes called off from work; I simply do nothing. I’ll watch youtube and type away at my book from seven years ago, and groan over my unsuccessful writing. I realize that while I write to write and tell a story or five twisted into a way it only makes sense to me; I could really avoid some of this agony by following ten different things.

1. Stop Reading “10 best ways to…”

Being subscribed to multiple news letters there’s always a ten best, ten things, or ten miracle secrets, I always wind up reading. What’s terrible about this is there are many commentaries which make me feel inadequate. For example one I read recently on e-book marketing talks of the “Dead” model of books; “This is an example of a dead book. The author only receives five downloads a day, only one paid download every other day. This merely results in a negative profit. More likely causes could be the writing isn’t captivating…” I wish I had sales like that! While these spawn good ideas that I painstakingly try to copy it only ever leads to more agony.

2. Stop spending my entire day off, writing.

So my muse, Hemingway, said a true writer writes everyday. Well I certainly do, but on my days off I seem to do nothing but leave my chair to smoke a cigarette or grab another beer. While sometimes my imagination is flowing and captivating, I only re-write what I wrote the next day resulting in a horrendous cycle of not-getting-anything-accomplished.

3. Stop staring at Statistics

While statistics are a good way to help formulate a snap shot of my writing performance, staring doesn’t make a difference. Punching numbers into a calculator doesn’t increase my odds, or ever make me feel any better. I sometimes literally stare at the bar graph or line chart and wonder why it continues to dip back to ZERO!

4. Stop trying to find a good place to write, and just write!

Searching for a good place to write only seems to take up more of my time that I could be spending writing. While location is important to inspiration, searching for a location along the beach is nearly impossible. I could stop in at Hillcrest sit at a cafe and write, but then my eyes are drawn to the men around me which inevitably leads to my discovery of the bar. Then, well, it’s all over from there. Thanks Hemingway.

5. Stop thinking of things I can buy when I don’t have the resources to buy

In a day I will get bored with writing or just demand a break from it. Then I begin to play with gadgets on my computer, all leading to things I could buy to “help” me out a bit. I need business cards, a good website, a nook, and more books on the topic of writing. I don’t have money for those sorts of things. I promise myself I will invest the money I make from my writing into those items when I begin making money. Is that wrong? Well, not going to happen for a little at least.

6. Spread out my time

Don’t worry about just my book. I have other platforms I need to continue to use. I hate getting emails from Examiner.com stating I’ve lost my status of “premier article presenter” if that even exists. While I have a big project in front of me, rewriting my old works for the release of my latest book, I can’t forget about those little side projects.

7. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!

While appearing as a modern day Bo Radley might seem fun and twisted; there is nothing exciting about it. A hermit I can call myself. Approaching three months that I have been in San Diego and I barely know the names of anything around here, only the streets and highways I take to work. While worried about spending too much money, which I always seem to do, there are plenty of free things to do.

8. Pick up another lesson in Grammar

Folks, I believe I have said it since day one, but Grammar KILLS ME! I love to use comma’s and apostrophe’s where they aren’t really supposed to, go.  (<-HAHA, get it!) Maybe if I took a small break from writing a thousand hours of my day away I could pick up a few valuable lessons in Grammar.

9. Stop stressing about my Query Letter

I literally have a thousand versions that all sound good to me. Randomly, while writing The Unexpected, I ‘ll get yet another idea for it. I then open up my choice of fifteen different word documents all containing hooks and bodies of query letters. Practice makes perfect, but right now. I don’t need to be worrying about the Query letter when I have all of these other things gathering.

10. Drink more beer

Actually that’s a bit of a lie, I should be drinking less. Though in moments of writers block or severe writer’s agony the icy cold refreshment usually represents a way to relax and just write. While I will spend the entire next day editing what I wrote while drinking beer at least I wrote. This is no way to go about writing though, as I should learn again from Mr. Hemingway and his friend Fitzgerald.

To sum things up. I need to let my craft be my craft while honing in on some of the not-so-fun aspects such as grammar. I will get there but maybe in the mean time I could take some of my own advice as listed above.

Straight to business on query

Writing the painstaking query letter has proven not to be easy. Taking the entire story, wrapping it up into a tiny small package, and still hitting key points minus all the background, explanation, imagery, and art. I have fluffed, puffed, fumbled, and strained my manuscript in attempts to make something that is reminiscent of a professional query letter. I have only gotten a single bite, requesting more information from the query I  was using. I decided to change things up a bit, but found a conversation in the authorqueryconnect.com forum, which swayed my eye.

Appropriately titled “I am DONE querying” the young lady vents about the frustrations of querying. From this she tells the world that she plans to self-publish. There is response upon response giving credit to trying to query, but also offering support and encouragement for the process. I was distracted by this momentarily, but then got back to my query letter.

I stared at the blank word document. I wanted to start fresh. After staring and toiling over how I should structure the hook, where I should start, the verbiage and feel of the words and sentences as a whole. One sentence continued to go through my head. It summed up the entire book, and if phrased correctly could draw interest. I went at it. Cut out the fluff, description, and specifics to tell of what the book was about. Two sentences that wrap up what the book is about,

“A small group of Christians, deemed a terrorist group, must be defeated. President Andrew Rakford is the man to do so, but at the risk of being called the anti-christ.”

So the deal is, I have submitted this query to several agents. I have also posted this on agentqueryconnect.com where it has gotten some great feedback. Here’s hopin’! But hey, if I don’t get the representation I seek, I can always go it alone. (again) It won’t be a problem.

The first “Partial” request

Good Afternoon!

March 19th was a monumental writing day. That is the day that I got my first request for a partial manuscript! I have queried some twenty five agents and I finally got a response. Reading over the email she sent requesting the material left me reading it over four then five times. When I got home that evening I was able to sit down and really read through the email. Very specific instructions were outlined in the email, and asked for a two page synopsis, a biography, and the first fifty pages of my manuscript, double spaced with .5 inch margins all around…justified.

Querying, itself, has proven to be a difficult task. The first obstacle is finding a website that gives information on any agent or agency. Then you have to read each persons biography to find out which one, if any, will appeal to your style of story. Once you have found the perfect match, there is a process of rewriting the letter to meet the specific needs of the agent. The rest, we have all done a thousand times. OH and by all means don’t forget to compare your letter to Query shark.

I was completely unaware of the additional items that were needed once a partial was requested. I thought my query was as chopped down a synopsis as you could get! I began my search at 2 o’clock in the morning to find out what she might have been looking for when it came to a synopsis. Seeking representation means you have to play by their rules and ensure that everything meets their requirements before you can even decide if you want them or not. Oh, yes! Don’t forget that you can go through all of these hoops and ladders and finally decide that this is not the agent for you.

It took three days before I could respond to the email I was so excited to finally receive. I read through those first fifty pages about fifty times. I then had to write an acceptable synopsis using Nathan Bransford’s blog as a guideline. I then dusted off an old biography, fixed it up then sent my reply. Now I shall wait 12 weeks before I inquire if she liked it or not, but here’s hoping that I get a full request soon!

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

Getting Closer!

Good News!

I have been struggling with my latest book for what feels like a bit more than a year now. I currently have three days to get something together, and still accomplish tons for work. Day one of it all, I think I may have put together a query that works, and designed a cover to help me visualize the completion of the project. The cover I made up is shown (though I’m sure it won’t really look like this) along with the query letter. So please take a look, read it over, and let me know what you think!

Dear Nick Mullendore,

Thousands gathered at the White House to hear Andrew Rakford’s inaugural address. At the closing statements, the first explosions of the Great Christian Revolt mutilated hoards of people. With bodies strewn across the lawn Rakford has seconds to determine a course of action, however, something horrendous had already begun, God’s plan.

President Rakford forced into a war he would never end, quickly learns his path of peace isn’t as easily attainable as once thought. In attempts to eliminate the threat presented he finds it necessary for national security to raid a church group because they were moving heavy weaponry. The pastor of the church was named most wanted because camera’s showed him throwing a grenade into a crowd. He must also list suspects based on religious practice as current intelligence validates Christians behind each event. Every situation is causing him to stand against his morality, yet increases his popularity internationally.

His mother, in his meditation, reassures him God has a plan. Meditation was the only way to see her since her death. Once his meditations begin to deteriorate, the lady in white shows him into this new role of world leader. Though he couldn’t clearly see where God came into everything, there was no better way to fool everyone than to fool the man himself. Now with two plans in play, only the strongest can prevail to reveal the best president ever or something of the worst imagination, The Unexpected.

 

THE UNEXPECTED is a 70,000 word novel. An end of times thriller, tuning into the fears of 2012 yet promising a world past this. I have had entries published on About.com, Examiner.com, and Suite101.com. Reviews of other work can be found at jclarkmedia.com, bookpleasures.com, and pulseweekly.com. Publications such as Lehigh Valley Style Magazine, The Morning Call, and Carlisle’s “The Sentinel” also reviewed some of my work.

Partial or full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time.

Caleb A. Mertz

 

 

The Way it Was Meant to Be

Good Day!

Last night the boyfriend was away, and I sat at my computer mostly watching mom play Bingo. I decided I wanted to get to working on my Query letter once again, but definitely found it difficult to get started. Any way, I am on Agent Query Connect.com and have posted about five different versions of my query letter on the site already. I imagine that I must be boring some people so I thought about a title change. I went through titles such as UNEXPECTED DESSIMATION, PLANNED ABOMINATION, then finally, THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE.

Obviously I can change the title at any time, but I want to try something different. This book has been “done” for about six months now, and nothing…

Tell me what you think of my new Query Letter:

 

Dear Mr. Woohoo,

Please take time to read the following query.

Finally understanding the plan his mother said God had for him, left President Rakford in a place of agony and despair. With darkened eyes and severed rationality the lady in his head laid victim to the rage that she brewed within him. Even in her death there was more to quell, Rakford quickly turned on the sect that began the Great Christian Revolt and sneered at the possibility of relief.

Before his mother died in a car crash, she thrived off knowing he was to be part of God’s plan. Having his boyfriend over the night before, caused her dreams to falter, and her relapse into alcoholism. The lady in his head reminded him of this, and how his dad left because of him. She reminded him that everything he had been through, making him strong, wasn’t as he thought. She reminded him of the lies he had built his life on, causing it to crumble. Before this lady, President Rakford had addressed the United States on peace and well-being. He faced the beginning of the Great Christian Revolt the best he knew how. The plan his mother spoke of had been executed for thirty-five years, which left Andrew Rakford little time to calculate something to put off those plans.

Accepting the possibility that the center of his religious up bringing was against him, forced him to consider the malicious options at hand. If he were submissive to the way things were heading, he would just be the enemy of God. If, however, he embraced the truth, maybe he could defeat the opposition and be victorious over the man that was said to create the heavens and the earth.

THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE is a 68,000 word finished novel. An end of times thriller, tuning into the fears of 2012 yet promising a world past this.  I have had two books self-published “With Thoughts of Jason” and “The Silhouetted Leaves”. To write the work described above I combined church experience along with the world of witchcraft, which I had practiced briefly. Political involvement and raised in a military household has helped as well.   Partial or full manuscript is available upon request.  Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Caleb A. Mertz

Bad Query, Good Query

By this time I am almost terrified to post anything more on my queries.  It, at times, feels like my babies ripping my hair out for me.  I am sure that my facebook friends are tired of me asking them to check out the latest query.  Even though I realize this I am still re-writing the damned query!

One night I sat down and rewrote my letter and thought ‘This is great! It tells the story and kind of tells what the books about‘ — Well the very next day I woke up and reread the query being nothing but excited.  I was overwhelmed with a horrible and sickening emotion.  Heck, now it just read as if it were a faith novel about the end times!  I am not querying christian faith agents, but mainstream fiction/ thriller types.  So I write again.

I come up with another one that seems cool.  AH! I can’t write a friggin query letter that “Seems cool”!  I re-write again.  I feel content with the opening paragraph and focus on the second.  After re-reading it about thirty times and making small grammatical corrections, I am dissatisfied with the first paragraph.  Those first few words are what determine if the agent will continue to read.  Ultimately I realize that this process takes some serious time, but boy is it ever fun.  It creates the possibility to exercise all of my creative writing skills along with practicing my grammar.  This isn’t such a bad thing.

Anyway, only when I have a query letter that wows me as the author will I post it.  I will keep everyone posted till then, but just wanted to rant here for a bit.

Thank you,

Caleb A. Mertz

My third Query Letter

Writing a query letter to an agent is something that seems like a horrible task when reviewed and researched on-line.  Never being one to quit I took the advice of many agents, authors, and reviewers into view when compiling this query.  Please tell me what you think, and again take the poll.

“The climbing number of terrorist actions had brought the world to Washington D.C. for Mr. Rakford’s inauguration.  At a place of peace and in a time of hope did death and fear strike by the force of “Christian” terrorists.

Andrew Rakford, 35, was a man of altruistic authority when he was named President of the United States.  Wanting to take the woes of the world and turn them into victories along with the wrongs into rights, would he make the world a better place.  He wasn’t, however, the only one with a plan.  His mother always reminded him that God had many great things for him to accomplish, but as these plans came to confrontation the world began taking an agonizing turn.  Though they melded and worked perfectly together, it remained tethered at the final result of Andrew.  Would he be the best president in years, releasing the world of the terrorist hold, or the greatest evil known to man in the form of the Antichrist?”

possible synopsis…

Good morning! I am writing to you now with the hopes that some of you will happily provide some feedback on which of the following three synopsis’ would make you want to read “The Unexpected”

#1

Everyday across the media there are invigorating statements relating to the end of the world.  Nostradamus, the Bible, and the mayan calendar all predict the end to be in 2012.  What if we lived to see a world beyond this where there was peace and abundance.  What if this was the perfect world to begin the ultimate chapter of the end, the Revelation.

When Andrew Rakford becomes President of the United States of America he wishes his mother was there because she was the one that always said that God had a great plan for him.  Now as he grows and survives multiple terrorist attacks his life begins to change without much more than a thought towards it.  Forgetting his mother and moving forward with his own plans he soon finds what this great plan had always been.  The Anti-Christ has never been  a position that has been so well taken with a drive and dillegence as by Andrew Rakford

#2

The threats of 2012 loom everyday on the news, in our minds, and across civilization.  What if we made it past this to see a world that initiates it’s president with an Inaugural massacre which makes way to the great Christian Revolt?  “The Unexpected” creates a world much like the one we live in today but filled with anxious twists of what’s norm, from Christian terrorists, blatant execution without due diligence, and modern day concentration camps.

Andrew Rakford is a young President of the United States starting out at the youngest age allowable, 35.  With a swarm of warped memories of his childhood and life practices Andrew is capable of using charm as well as intelligence in attempts to literally make everybody happy.  Till he learns of the truth of his mother’s reactions to his life, and the true reason why his father had left so many years ago does he remain a man of unfathomable patience and kindness.  Smart twists to the plot and story line add the dramatic effect of this novel never truly allowing the reader to see what will happen, though told through a third person omniscient point of view.

#3

Imagine that you are at the ripe young age of 35.  You’ve just received a promotion where you feel you can make everything better, the wrongs into rights and the woes into victories.  You’re mother always used to tell you that you were going to be a mighty man of God after a priest had prophesized this for you.  Here you sit being agnostic, but still having a love for your deceased mother, her lovely sayings, and realistic revelations.

The Christians have united and created a terrorist group that is reigning destruction on the United States and countries abroad because they feel that the government has become too corrupt to go on.  A combination of assassination attempts, terrorist attacks, and a plethora of missing people finally makes you initiate a plan in order to keep the world safe.  A plan that would ensure people follow you, and don’t oppose you.  A plan where the world is the edge of your every command.  You now know that you are the President of the United States, and you are the Anti-christ.