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Some of You May Be Wondering Why My Manuscript Is Still Unpublished

November 1, 2010

Well, I just wrote this sample query letter as a class assignment. You will find that it thoroughly answers your question.

Dear Open-minded Agent or Publisher Specializing in Experimental Literary Memoir,

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to move to a new city to spend seven years as a beyond-fully funded student in a highly regarded, brutally competitive classics doctoral program, and three days after arriving find yourself involved in some kind of indefinable covert pseudorelationship with a classmate whose sexual orientation somehow manages to be more complicated than yours, and descend further and further into alcohol abuse and emotional chaos until you end up in a psychiatrist’s office, where you are diagnosed with a catalogue of terrible, generally pretty unfixable problems for which you end up taking a different medication or combination thereof every few weeks, and then, a short time after you’ve hubristically assured your therapist of your certainty that the gods have screwed up your life to the fullest possible extent and everything’s going to be uphill from here, you find out you have a 22-year-old half-sister who’s been best friends with one of your cousins since they ended up in the same high school math class a decade ago?

This is the timeless and universal question faced by Kate Strayer, the pseudonymous star of Fuck the Scholarships. A strange but often endearing ex-scholar whose language skills are inversely proportionate to her social skills, I believe I am uniquely qualified to write this story not only because I have already written it, but also because I am the protagonist. Having actually experienced all of the things listed above, I have thorough first-hand knowledge of what the characters do, say, and feel as the story unfolds.

Irrepressibly playful prose balances the seriousness of the plot, resulting in a genre-defying literary memoir (emphatically not a self-help book) every page of which offers manifold opportunities for inappropriately timed laughter. The story ends on a hopeful note, inviting the reader to celebrate the diabolical creativity of the gods and the healing power of irony.

I appreciate that you have taken the time to read this letter, specifically that you made it through the first paragraph. I would be very happy to send you the full manuscript.

Sincerely,

K. Strayer

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