Martha Wells (marthawells) wrote,
Martha Wells

Query Letters

Inspired by Ann Leckie's post My Query Letter for Ancillary Justice I thought I'd post my query for The Cloud Roads.

Mine is a bit different in format because I was following my agent's guidelines. I've left off the first part of the letter that explained that I had left my former agent earlier in the year, and then I listed my past publications (which at that point was seven fantasy novels, two media-tie-ins, and some recent short fiction in anthologies and magazines.

The date on it was Tuesday, December 11, 2007. Jennifer Jackson asked for the full manuscript and agreed to represent it, and it went out on submission in 2008. It then visited many, many publishers who didn't much care for it, before finally finding a home and being published by Night Shade in February of 2011. (By that time I, being an optimist, had already written The Serpent Sea, and it was bought at the same time as The Cloud Roads.)


My new novel is a fantasy, with the working title _The Cloud Roads_, and will probably be about 120,000 words when complete. I'm currently about 77,000 words in, and think I should be finished with it by March, at the latest. I've copied in a brief description and the first five pages below. If you'd like to see more, I can send you a partial manuscript by mail, or email you chapters in Word, whichever you'd prefer.

Thank you very much for your time,

Martha Wells


Moon is a shapeshifter, who can transform into a winged creature. He has been traveling the different lands of the Three Worlds, trying not to reveal his abilities to anyone while looking for a place to belong. He's also trying to stay ahead of the Fell, a race of large demon-like creatures who have been attacking the various kingdoms of the Three Worlds.

When the tribe Moon is living with accidentally see him in his other form, they think he is related to the Fell and try to kill him. He is rescued by another winged shapeshifter, Stone, who believes that Moon is a lost member of his people, a Raksura.

Stone convinces Moon to come back with him to Stone's Raksuran colony. But when they arrive, Moon discovers that what Stone didn't tell him is that Moon is not only a Raksura, he is a consort. A consort is the only kind of Raksura who can breed with the queens, and Stone is bringing Moon back specifically as a mate for the young queen Jade.

Stone is hoping that once Jade has a consort, she will be able to take control of the colony from the older and badly ill queen Pearl. Once Jade does this, the colony will be able to move to a better location, safer from the Fell.

Many of the other members of the colony think of Moon as an outsider, a dangerous solitary, and object to his presence, and Moon thinks it's impossible for him to belong there, and isn't certain he wants to be Jade's consort. Then they discover that the colony has already been infiltrated by the Fell. To save the colony, and his only chance at a home, Moon will have to help Jade and Stone gain control of the colony, and find a way to free it from the Fell invaders.

Tags: books of the raksura, the cloud roads

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