The query letter
Please allow me the next few minutes of your time to tell you about my book and my vision for what comes next. As I write to you now, the offer of my manuscript, subject to an agreement regarding representation, is exclusive. I do hope that you will recognize the current and future potential of my work, and I will have no need to contact other agents.
I am an American businesswoman currently living in Singapore. Prior to landing in Southeast Asia, I lived and worked in Europe for six years in the IT industry. Initially, my U.S. firm sent me to Germany on a one-year assignment. Once that was complete, I went on to work in the Netherlands, the UK, Italy and France. This book details my experience of a life abroad and how difficult it can be to crack the cultural code of foreign business. I took for granted that the American way of doing business was universal and learned the hard way that nothing could be further from the truth.
For years, I searched high and low for the book I have now written myself. There are a glut of “how to live abroad” books in the marketplace, but they only describe the practicalities and logistics of a move—not the real-life screwball situations you will encounter. My story takes place in one of the most prestigious consulting firms in the world with a backdrop of some of Europe’s most glamorous capitals. I guarantee that nothing like my memoir, Female Adventures in International Business, exists in print today. It is part travelogue, part international business textbook, and part love story—all told with good laughs at my expense.
Everywhere I go, professional women relate to this topic. They are hungry for it and immediately recognize the need for this book to become available. I have spoken with groups of women in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and found that all of our stories are similar. I have no intention of excluding men; it is simply my experience that women are quick to grasp the concept and relate.
If you don’t take my word about the relevance of culture in today’s global society, consider the remark made by Malcolm Gladwell in his recent bestseller, Outliers: “ Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from—and when we ignore that fact, planes crash.” My story is exactly that, a cautionary tale to others that they ignore culture at their own peril, as I initially did.
Now that I have finished with my European tale, it is my intention to follow that up with the gold mine of stories that I have collected in Asia Pacific (Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and China). I have also been told that there is a demand for a blog on my experiences that I intend to start by September 2010.
It would be my pleasure to send you the manuscript for review, either in hard copy or electronic format. As my first choice of agent, I would be pleased to collaborate with you, and I await your reply.