Progress on First Novel, Part 2

This picture represents the stage I’m in with my first novel, which is entering its sixth draft. The flowers, perky and well-defined, are the plot points and characters; the pond, housing myriad underwater minerals and plants and animals, is the mind that imagined the story. The setting overall represents the combination of steady and fragile feelings as I take the plunge and start contacting agents.

Here’s my current query letter, which I’m sending out this week to a selected list. Do you think it will intrigue agents to ask for a sample chapter? Does it describe a type of book you’d ever want to read? (I do know this isn’t for everyone.) I’ll update you with results in a couple weeks.

Dear [oh-so-carefully selected agent’s name]:

My publishing career culminated in founding and operating an independent press (VanderWyk & Burnham, 28 titles) and selling it in 2009 in order to focus on writing. In the three years since, I have done the following: (1) I started and maintain the “Yours In Books” blog; (2) I wrote and self-published a family memoir, which I do not assume is representative of my fiction-writing ability, just my perseverance; and (3) I drafted the first two novels of a planned series.

Complete at 73,500 words, CIRCLING GREAT WHARF is the debut novel, first in a cozy series with elements of romance and suspense. The second book in the series is in first-draft form, and a third book is being planned.

Synopsis (Book 1): Life in small town Great Wharf, Maine, is disrupted when a local businesswoman crosses the line for love. Thrice-divorced Angie Weller, savvy and flirtatious owner of the Byways gift shop, came to town three years ago with a plan to build a retail business and then snag a husband. She has a unique approach to retail that includes product tampering and renting display-window space to a spiritualist as a customer attraction. Her relationship sights are set on a respected doctor she met twenty years before, but first she needs to identify and remove any competition. Written from the omniscient point of view, the storyline weaves together the lives of six other main characters and leaves readers looking forward to their next visit to Great Wharf, Maine. In each book, a new character takes center stage while the friendship of three women keeps subplots whirring.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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