A query is the first (and sometimes only) impression you can give of your novel. It is a page-long letter in which you (the author) are supposed to describe yourself, your novel, and sell both of these to the publisher or literary agent to which the letter is addressed.
Below is my query letter for Millennial Fish:
My name is Thomas Marshall, I am a previously unpublished 21 year old, I attend the University of Southern California, and I hope to start a career in writing with my approximately 65,000 word YA novel, Millennial Fish.
Millennial Fish is This Side of Paradise meets On the Road in the style of a wry John Green, written for, by, and about the millennial generation. Familiar yet unexpected, and entirely captivating, Millennial Fish is the story of a teenager who finds himself when he finds a girl, then loses the girl, and finds himself once again on the American Road.
Everything about the story and the way it’s written speak to millennials in a way only a narrator (and author) their age could, from the tone, to the pacing, and even to the diction and syntax. Music plays a huge part in adolescence, especially for Alexander, because of this, each chapter of the book is titled after a song that relates to it in some way, complete with a ‘Chapter Playlist’ at the beginning of the novel.
Following the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Paper Towns, Millennial Fish examines American adolescent life through the eyes of three teenagers discovering love, music, sexuality, and personal identity.
The first half of the novel follows Alexander, a teenager on the dividing line between childhood and adulthood through his last two years of high school in a small Southern California beach town. Though he enters his junior year of high school characterized with an all-too-common adolescent apathy, he is soon thrust out of this ennui when he enters a relationship with Lila, the daughter of his writing teacher, as well as when he begins a complicated new friendship with a troubled freshmen, Kenneth.
Through Kenneth, the novel examines the effect of parentification in a household coping with addiction and depression, as well as offering a sympathetic portrait of an adolescent with reluctant thoughts of becoming a school shooter. By becoming the friend that Kenneth needed, Alexander learns that helping just one person can make all the difference in the world.
After a year exploring their first serious relationship, Alex and Lila break up shortly after high school graduation when Lila moves to New York. Alex soon misses what he once had and sets off on a cross-country road trip with Kenneth to win back Lila in the second half of the novel. But after driving thousands of miles, Alex unexpectedly fails to win her back, and he learns an important lesson about the individuality of others. Alex returns home with new wisdom, looking forward to whatever his future may hold.
Every generation has a road novel, and the climate in the US is ripe for a millennial epic; especially in this time of divisiveness, when our entire generation feels so alienated, a story of unity, self-discovery, and understanding is needed.
As stated in your guidelines, I have included____.
I’ve loved both writing and reading for as long as I can remember and would now love to be able to make my passion a profession. Thank you for considering Millennial Fish.
Thomas K. Marshall