The query format is now pretty established with some variations over a pretty long stretch of time, but is it enough? I can write a standard query and still not begin to address issues that may be germane to the agent or publisher reading it and hoping to make some sales. Let me be specific. My currently in progress novel has a big reveal of a historical fact, but there isn't any evidence of that in the public record except for my own assertion that it is real.
I hate it that this makes me too much akin to the headline seeking political gossip revelations we have all now become so used to. And I'm really aware that I am behaving just like they are. Perhaps the juiciest part of my novel as far as publishing sales go is my revelation of what actually happened - at least for the moment supported by nothing more than my assertion that it was true.
There's a good chance that there are other elders out there who might recognize their own experience in my novel. There is almost a certainty that somewhere deep in archival records there is a confirmation, but my would be agent or publisher can't count on either of those things. I can put a one liner in a standard query to suggest the truth of this, but is that enough? Our friend Matt Sinclair suggested in material I have read elsewhere that when in some instances he sent a query he also sent a cover letter. I think it would be worth my while to ask if this is the kind of material he might include here. I also think that litgal may want to include in her Historical chat some reference to the standards of materiality that should be applied to historicals. I want to write this because I want people to know the truth and the implications, but how that falls among the wide spectrum of historical novels is pretty daunting.
When I was first in college, way back in the fall of 1974, my best reference for the Renaissance was a fairly cheap historical romance by Samual Shellebarger, Prince of Foxes. It grounded me enough in the period to thrive in my class. I would hope that what I am writing now might do the same for some future student.