My name is Yvette Willemse, and I am a New Zealander looking for the opportunity to get a book published. I have been writing novel-sized projects for eight years now, and have had a short story published in an anthology once. My other interest is music, particularly singing. I desire to have my book represented by a literary agent before a publisher. I have not previously approached any publishers with my work.
I have written a manuscript entitled Radadazh, an eighty thousand word novel aimed at an audience of twelve-year-olds to sixteen-year-olds. Radadazh is intended to be the first of a series, but also reads as a book in its own right. It is a fantasy fiction work. Recently, Radadazh was manuscript assessed by Tina Shaw, who gave a positive assessment but suggested some invaluable changes which have since been made. Below is a plot summary of the work in my own words.
In a world called the Mio Pilamùr, which was created by the sacred phoenix, there is a boy called Radadazh. Because of his name, at age four Radadazh was made a slave by King Talmon, the tyrannical ruler of the country Tarhia. Unbeknownst to Radadazh, his name bears a meaning even the most powerful sorcerer on the Mio Pilamùr fears. Because he fears Radadazh’s name, the Lashki Mirah plans to make Radadazh a personal puppet for himself and the much-dreaded demoniac force, Nazt. Radadazh’s only friend Philippe, a humble boot-shiner, knows the meaning of Radadazh’s name by chance. Philippe works desperately to free Radadazh before it is too late.
When the King Talmon captures the princess Etana, heir to the beautiful country Siana, Philippe persuades twelve-year-old Radadazh to free her in order to win Sianian King Robert’s favour. Philippe hopes this will increase Radadazh's chances of escaping Tarhia altogether. Radadazh manages to free the princess, but is caught before he can flee from the Tarhian palace in which he is a prisoner himself. King Talmon, a servant of the Lashki Mirah, sentences Radadazh to execution. Philippe at last reveals to Radadazh that his name means ‘fledgling of the phoenix’. Because of it, Radadazh fits certain ancient prophesies concerning a legendary figure who will serve the phoenix, and become a threat to the force of Nazt and its greatest servant, the Lashki Mirah. On the day of Radadazh’s execution, Philippe makes one last attempt to free Radadazh. This time it ends in success, due to a Sianian who helps Radadazh flee to the Harbour. Radadazh is hurried on board the Phoenix Wing, a ship where Sianian King Robert is waiting with Etana to welcome him.
Even after his arrival in Siana, Radadazh’s troubles are far from over. The Lashki has planned an attack on Radadazh, King Robert, and Etana in the Sianian palace where they live. One night, Radadazh is called by the phoenix to the woods outside the palace. There the phoenix presents him with a phoenix feather, confirming Radadazh is the fledgling. Upon returning to the palace, Radadazh finds himself fighting for his life as he encounters first King Robert’s traitorous daughter Annette, then King Talmon’s evil general Roger, and lastly the Lashki Mirah, who is about to kill King Robert in his own bed. Radadazh discovers he can perform sorcery now too, and fights a dramatic battle with the Lashki to save his own, Etana’s, and King Robert’s lives. Eventually the Lashki flees, taking Annette with him. The next day, King Robert formally announces to the Sianian people that Radadazh is the fledgling of the phoenix. King Robert adopts Radadazh as his own son – something Radadazh couldn't have wanted more. In the meantime, the Lashki Mirah returns to Tarhia and plots his next move to murder Radadazh and rule Siana.
This is the barest of plot summaries, as the story has numerous subplots. These include Radadazh's ability to see the future, his relationship with Philippe, his dark life in the coal mine in which he is a slave, and his relationship with a fellow worker who triggers a slave's revolution which ends in disaster. I am more than happy to provide a more elaborate plot summary at request.
My hope is that this story will earn your approval, and that you will wish to represent my book before a publisher. If that is not the case, however, I thank you for your time and consideration anyway.
Yvette K. Willemse.
Writing good query letters really comes down to common sense. I didn't get too creative or lyrical with what I wrote, but went straight to the point. I include valuable information like target audience, genre, word count, whether I had been previously published, if publishers had seen this particular work before, and whether I had had help from a professional (which I had). All this worked in my favour. Additionally, the first paragraph of the plot summary appeared on Pontas website with my profile for a while. Pontas and I have since parted ways, after two years of great work together. I'll always remember their invaluable help. It's a great step to get a literary agent.
Feel free to contact me via the contact form on this website, if you have any questions about writing query letters, or if you want me to read yours.