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Feedback on a Query Letter

I've been working on a query letter and thought I'd post it for some feedback.  I struggle with the opening as I've read it should reference a book or an author the agent has worked with.  That's great if you can find out that info but if all you know is an agent is looking for new clients and works with unpublished writers and is interested in your genre isn't that enough to query the agent?


 Dear Mr. Agent:

 I read on your website that you were interested in developing your military titles and thought you may find my manuscript, The Mistaken Marine: The Marines were looking for a few good men but they got me instead of interest.

 The Mistaken Marine is a completed memoir of 60,000 words chronicling my Marine Corps adventure.  As the book guides the reader through the experience of Marine boot camp in San Diego, California, it details how a young nonconformist copes with an environment where conforming is the only viable option.

 A former Marine, I describe what boot camp was like from the first few days of being scared and trying to think of a way out, to slowly adjusting to the routine of Marine life while never fully becoming indoctrinated.  Some individuals become so indoctrinated they’ll wear a crew cut or dress in fatigues the rest of their lives. I, on the other hand, only wanted to go through boot camp and prove to myself I could do it. In hindsight, a very poor reason to enlist.

 There are other books that detail Marine boot camp, most written by distinguished Marines or journalists who observed the training. I am neither. From the moment I stepped off the plane in San Diego I knew I had made a mistake. A mistake I had to live with by moving forward and facing my decision to enlist and the reality of that decision.  The distinguishing feature of the book is the twenty-five letters received from family and friends during the twelve weeks of boot camp. Letters that helped ease the feelings of homesickness and were the one thing to look forward to.  Hope that was renewed each day; with the thought of letters from home waiting for you at the end of the day, when you returned from training.

 Over 180,000 new recruits join the U.S. military annually adding to the nearly 1.5 million active duty personnel and 1 million reservists currently serving, and over 20 million veterans. All of these service members have parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and friends, meaning a very large percentage of the U.S. population have family ties to our military and its veterans. 

 The Mistaken Marine is my first manuscript. I’m a manager at a national financial services firm, leading a group which is responsible for the firm’s customer identification program. We ensure the firm’s compliance with the U.S. Patriot Act.

The Mistaken Marine offers publishers a product with a large potential readership, series potential, a motivated, disciplined author, and the authenticity of the actual letters from 1982.  May I send you either a complete proposal package with sample chapters or the completed manuscript?

 Thank you for your time and consideration.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 Greg Dickerson