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My Query Letter for Ancillary Justice

I had a lovely time last night hanging out with Writers Under the Arch. We had delicious muffins and talked about writing, and it was just a great evening all around.

While we were chatting, the topic of query letters came up, and I said I thought they should be against the law, but really there’s no getting around them. And I was asked if I could share mine for Ancillary Justice. So I’m posting it here for anyone who’s interested.

You’ll notice the book changed its title between the time I queried agents and the time it was published.

Dear [Agent]:
Once Breq had hundreds of bodies, her artificial intelligence animating a ship and thousands of ancillary units in the service of the Radch, the colonialist empire that built her.
That’s all gone. Destroyed. Now she has only a single, limited human body. And she has only one goal–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal, ruler of the Radch.
A long time ago, Seivarden had been a lieutenant on Justice of Toren, the ship Breq used to be. Now Seivarden is lying in the street on an icy backwater planet, naked and unconscious, battered into insensibility from months of too many drugs and too little food. Breq knows she should leave Seivarden to rot where she found her. Breq isn’t responsible for Seivarden, not anymore. Besides, Seivarden was never one of Breq’s favorite people.
But Breq can’t walk away, can’t abandon a former officer. Even though she knows that it’s a possibly fatal distraction from her one, true aim. Even though she knows that in the complex politics of the Radch, Seivarden would side with the faction that Breq implacably opposes. The faction that has already destroyed her once.
JUSTICE OF TOREN is a Cherryh-flavored space opera complete at 101,000 words.
I am a graduate of Clarion West. My short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Realms of Fantasy, Subterranean Magazine, and three volumes of Rich Horton’s best of the year anthologies. I am also the editor of the webzine GigaNotoSaurus.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time, and your attention,
Ann Leckie
[contact information]

So there you go. You’ll notice I didn’t get the entire plot in there–it really doesn’t go much further than the first chapter.

For those of you about to embark on your own query letters–my sincere condolences. And I strongly recommend reading the entire Query Shark archive. It’ll help you get some kind of a handle on what sort of thing it is you’re trying to produce.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.


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I love this! Thank you so much for sharing!

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