On Becoming a Master Gardener…or Master of the Query


William Wallace Denslow's rendition of the poe...

William Wallace Denslow’s rendition of the poem, 1901 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With Silver Bells and and Cockleshells and Pretty Maidens All in a row.”

 During my year of unemployment, beside finishing The Call, I also took a Master Gardener‘s Class. With a four inch thick binder divided into 18 sections as a textbook, from botany to plant diseases, varieties of grass to ornamental shrubs to house plants, I learned a lot even though I had gardened for years.

But I once heard we learn best what we relearn, what we already know.  That was true about the most important lesson from the class: you don’t have to know everything, you just have to know how to find out.

Whether you are asked about a gardening problem by a neighbor, or you have to figure out how to structure a query letter, there are lots of samples on the internet. Lots of sites will try to sell you a workshop or a book on the topic, but here are just a couple of internet sites that have good information on query letters (including samples) for free:   http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/07/anatomy-of-good-query-letter-iii.html  and  http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx

There are probably as many different varieties of query letters as there are types of writing. My novel, The Call, is epic fantasy fiction, a combination of historical fiction with fantasy elements (a la Naomi Novik‘s Temeraire Series if you’re a fan of fantasy). So while I will post my letter if I sell my book, if you write true crime, mysteries, creative non-fiction, memoire, or professional non-fiction, your letter might be better if it were very different from mine.

In other words, Mary, every garden is unique. Plan, plant, fertilize, cultivate your garden to perfection…then select your best blooms and create just the right bouquet for each agent you select.  You know you can do the best query letter, you can relearn it or you can learn it…or maybe we can become Masters of the Query together.

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About joanneeddy

Writer living in North Carolina. Originally from upstate New York. I love my family, my community, and my friends, and embrace 'living deliberately' in the world, trying to make a difference. I have written an as yet unpublished book, The Call, an epic fantasy with historical fiction and folklore elements. My blog is for other writers, for those who love a good read, and for all who, like me, are looking to find and live their call.
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2 Responses to On Becoming a Master Gardener…or Master of the Query

  1. Annette Dellemonico says:

    Hi! Thanks for the info on query letters. I’d like to help Mike with his children’s book which should be published. I remember how much we loved that rhyme about Mistress Mary, taken I believe from The Secret Garden? I believe we loved that book so as children. That book had a profound influence on me. Last year after teaching the students in my class about symbolic representation, they wrote poems comparing themselves to a garden, telling what they would plant and how they would care for their gardens. They were so inspiring. I should look for some of them and send a few. I had them write their poems on beautiful designer paper, it had a green border with little gardening tools and flowers and vegetables scattered around it. I think we made little pretend gardens in the sandbox in front of the little hermit houses, probably inspired by the Secret Garden. I was very inspired and uplifted all week after your letter filled with all the reminiscences from our childhood. It filled me with a great sense of the magicness and awesome mystery we experienced during childhood. I walked around differently for a week, re-experiencing that magical awe and wonderment. So, thank-you so much. Melody told me she was excited to be Facebook friends and to read your blog. She came home last weekend and said I have a new Auntie Jo! She is really happy to connect with you, very excited. Have a great week, and thanks for the blog. Annette

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    • joanneeddy says:

      Annette,
      I didn’t know that Mike was working on a book. There are great Children’s Writers groups that he could look into that might be helpful to him. I actually have a Children’s story concept in mind that I tried to explore getting published, but as it was a therapeutic concept I tried an editor who publishes those kind of stories and they weren’t accepting anything new. Tell Mike I wished him good luck.
      Jo

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