Query Critique–Chetak

Dear XYZ Publisher;

He fought an elephant and won, saved a man’s life, reunited two brothers on a battlefield and helped stop the invasion of an entire army.

Chetak, the hero of this 2,200 [I’m assuming word] picture book, was a horse.

This remarkable true story is set in India, a land of color and mystery. The bright, colorful illustrations give young readers a fascinating look at another period of time while sharing the amazing and tender story of a horse and the two brothers who loved him.

When the younger brother could not claim the beautiful Chetak for himself, he argued with his brother then left to live in a distant city. Angered, the two brothers did not speak nor write to each other. A few years later war erupted across India and the brothers joined opposite armies.

On the battlefield, Chetak’s victorious battle against the king’s elephant brought the two brothers together again. Their reunion was so powerful and touching that
the invading king refused to harm either brother. Rather, he granted them the peace they finally knew they desired.

The rich, keepsake illustrations and text introduce children to a country and culture that are not well know[n]. The [This] story about Chetak teaches a universal truth: brothers and family love are important.

I am submitting this manuscript to you because of your strong interest in multi-cultural endeavors. I have worked as a freelance writer and artist for years. My writing has appeared in various national and international publications including Parenting, Horse & Rider, and Western Horseman. My artwork has appeared in magazines such as The Friend and Western Horseman, as well as juried shows and private collections.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope you enjoy the true story of Chetak.

This is not a bad query letter. I’d ask to see it. There is nothing in it that I’d change.

The only caution I would give, and it may not apply here since you’ve sold artwork, is to be very cautious about sending illustrations with your text. Most publishers have in-house illustrators or freelancers that they prefer to use. Or they want an illustration style different from what you’ve submitted. If you seem too locked in to the idea of using your own illustrations, and the publisher doesn’t like them, they may reject the manuscript as well.

If you are a professional illustrator–as in, you’ve SOLD artwork to someone who doesn’t know you personally–and you absolutely want to sell your art and book together as a set, then go ahead and send the illustrations. But if you lack experience, I’d suggest sending only one or two illustrations with the manuscript and stating in your query that you are sending the samples for consideration but that you are willing to sell the manuscript independent of your illustrations.

Author: LDS Publisher

I am an anonymous blogger who works in the LDS publishing industry. I blog about topics that help authors seeking publication and about published fiction by LDS authors.