Those of us who know Nathan Bransford (and who doesn't?) know he has amazing turnaround times among agents. So it was no surprise to me that I got my rejection this morning. I did expect it, as I said before, since he has never taken on fantasy and his stated preference is for literary work. I'm not feeling too disappointed actually; I am encouraged that my query was decent enough to get me a partial.
With any other agent I won't post details, but Nathan is different. He is all about teaching us struggling writers how to do better, so I don't believe he will mind me posting my query letter to him. If there is anything that does disappoint me, it is that I got no feedback on where specifically I had some weaknesses in the query or first thirty pages of my narrative. Yes, I know how busy he is, so I don't expect that kind of feedback. But, just a nudge here or there on something that stood out wrong would have been awesome and would give me the opportunity to fix something. As it stands, I have no idea what I need to fix. I don't expect Nathan will read this (though he did once comment on this blog!), but I still want to thank him for being terrific!
For what it's worth, here is what I sent him. Please do leave me feedback on how you think I might be able to make it better.
Query letter #1
I’ve been an avid follower of your blog for well over a year; you might recall me (knight_tour) as being the person who would have won your last March Madness Challenge had Butler won instead of Duke. I am seeking representation for my epic fantasy novel, The Shard, which is complete at 130,000 words.
Three years ago the minor noble Midas lost a son in an ambush by a troll. Now with his marriage crumbling and the Known Lands threatened by an invasion from a mysterious race of dragon men (called wyrmen), Midas is torn between his duty to raise his two remaining sons to be proper leaders and the insistence of his wife that he keep the boys safe.
He takes his sons to war, but hopes to shield them from the worst dangers. His intentions go awry when a seer involves them in a plan to defeat the wyrmen by finding a shard of a shattered magical relic, lost centuries ago in the lair of Kathkalan, a dragon so vicious it has turned the entire eastern region of the realm into an abandoned wasteland.
After surviving the dragon, cannibals, ice-wraiths that can kill with a touch, and a chase through an underground labyrinth, Midas and his companions find the shard and join the armies of the realm to confront the superior forces of the wyrmen, only to discover that the magic of the shard doesn’t work as expected. Midas is faced with the most excruciating of decisions -- save his sons, or save the realm and risk losing everyone that he loves.
George R.R. Martin has shown with his A Song of Ice and Fire series how hungry audiences are for realistic epic fantasy. I believe that the forthcoming movies based on The Hobbit will form a renewed bubble of interest in this genre. Though my novel can stand alone, I have begun a prequel and also outlined two other novels within the series.
Below are my first five pages. Thank you very much for your consideration.
That and my first 5 pages (which anyone can read if they wish by clicking the Authonomy link to the right) garnered me a partial request of thirty pages. The rejection was kindly written with a touch of personalization. The one element of sadness is that the best agent out there is now beyond my reach, leaving me with the prospect of querying all of the remaining agents who don't live up to Nathan's web presence. I'm sure there are many wonderful agents out there; I just need to go digging for them now.