Yma’s Query Letter – Final Draft

by newerawriters

Yma Johnson



Dear Dr. Oliver and Mr. Marcantoni,

From checkpoints in war-torn Sierra Leone to the ghettos of San Juan, Puerto Rico, May You Live Long Enough to Return Home shines an unflinching light on the world’s misbegotten as they battle for dignity in society’s shadowlands. This 50,000 word collection of sixteen stand-alone stories includes “Gringa Negra” which recounts an ex-patriot’s eleventh hour attempt to rescue her friend from an impending drug raid in Old San Juan. “August Lokken” follows a Norwegian fisherman’s night time boat ride into the Straits of Juan de Fuca to discover his brother’s terrible secret. After murdering her abusive husband, Emma Jean is on the run with three small children during a blizzard in “The Tracks.”

I selected Aignos Publishing because I believe that you will handle my literary fiction with a heightened understanding of what it means to write as a person of color. Your commitment to voicing the unspeakable in The Feast of San Sebastian and There is No Cholera in Zimbabwe mirror my artistic concerns in geographical scope and content.

I began writing eighteen years ago as a journalist, and my voice is influenced by my life as a first generation American born to Sierra Leonean parents and five years living in San Juan. My short story “Captain Blood is Coming” has been accepted for publication in the “Encyclopedia Project Vol. 3 L-Z” edited by California Institute for the Arts professor Tisa Bryant and award-winning author Miranda Mellis. “A Bed for Damaris” won first place in the 2012 Current Magazine Poetry and Fiction Contest judged by Davy Rothbart. I am pursuing a master’s in creative writing at Eastern Michigan University, and will teach poetry at the Huron Valley Women’s Prison as an intern in fall 2014.

My readers are edgy, left-leaning, politically active adults from all classes, cultures, and backgrounds. The United States marketing strategy includes readings, a book tour, and interviews networked through colleges, bookstores, cultural centers, and radio stations. I intend to work with The Michigan Center for the Book and the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association to coordinate regional author events.

My international digital strategy targets major English-language markets like Canada, United Kingdom, and India. I will market in Latin America, with a focus on Brazil, Puerto Rico and Spain, and promote heavily within the Sierra Leonean community. My blog and robust social media presence will create an access point to leverage the exploding ebook market in Turkey and China.

Thank you for your consideration.


Yma A. Johnson