Saturday, November 3, 2018

Query letter: CAT

Here is an example of a query letter for my novel CAT, for either a literary agent or an indie publisher. This is the one query letter that has gotten nibbles: requests to see the full manuscript. Alas, that's as far as I've gotten. What I would add, somewhere, is a paragraph saying why I'm querying that particular literary agent or publisher. I will post more query letters in the weeks to come, so you can see how my format has changed (not that that has necessarily increased interest). I don't put my blog and Twitter anymore, but who knows, maybe that helped? Feel free to borrow and steal anything you can use for your own query letter!

Their Name,

Ash and blackened earth. An elite wildland firefighting hotshot crew reaches the edge of a wildfire with chainsaws roaring, tanker planes and helicopters overhead. Cutting and digging line, they hope to catch the fire before it spreads out of control.

CAT: OR A SEASON IN FIRE follows DANNY SINGER during his first season on an elite wildland firefighting ‘hotshot’ crew, and his relationship with a female coworker (CAT) and the rest of the crew have as they travel the American west fighting forest fires for one summer.

With wildfires in the news every summer, CAT offers a look into the lives of wildland firefighters behind the media screen. My writing style comes from writers such as Hemingway, Sherman Alexie, Robert Bolaño, Jim Harrison, and Edward Abbey. This story would also appeal to readers of non-fiction works like Young Men and Fire and Fire On The Mountain.

Word count: 54,594

Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan, and currently lives in Portland, Oregon. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, deckhand/oiler, runner/busboy, bike messenger, wilderness ranger, and fire lookout, as well as a teacher of writing. His writing has appeared in ENTROPY, Rattapallax, Left Curve, Fence,, Best American Erotica 2004, and many other literary journals. A complete list, with links, is available at his website:

Twitter: @thejohnyohe

Thank you,

John Yohe

The first 12 pages of CAT can be read here.

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