1. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Confused. What To Do Now

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by S-wo, Oct 1, 2009.

    I'm still trucking here trying to get published and trying to find an agent. I've been taking my time on query letters as of alte. I actually haven't sent one out in three weeks because I'm afraid I can do better on the letter. I really want to be able to send this a\out, but I'm unsure if I should I've tried getting people to look over it at local colleges. What they mostly did was gffor grammar though and those teachers I don't think even know what a query letter is, actually one did ask me "What is it?". They correct stuff that shouldn't be corrected like they think Attn (Agent's name): should be Dear: instead, but I've gotten some grammar issues settled. I've also posted my query online for others to look at and judge, but I haven't been getting many responses, so I'm unsure if it's really ready yet.

    I'm trying to decide what should I do right now. I'm thinking I would be hurting myself sending it out than waiting a bit longer to get a little more in depth help and then send it out. If you may need for me to post my query letter here, can I do it in this section or another?

    I thank all who reply to this thread.
     
  2. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I got confused half way through...
    You're worried that your query needs work, or your ms? If the latter, don't sent queries until you are completely confident.

    I think it would be fine to post some of your query on here. You'd have to check with Cogito, I'm not completely sure. Also, I'm wondering if posting it will harm your chances or if that's just with mss.
     
  3. TPie
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    TPie New Member

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    A lot of query letters will differ depending on the agent/publisher you send them to. Look them up in writer's digest or find their website to see their guidelines.
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    And there is nothing wrong with using "dear" instead of "ATTN". It makes it look more friendly, and some editors and agents like that.
     
  5. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Yeah that was the first thing I did.

    I don't think I mentioned my manuscript and it's just my query letter I'm concerned about if I continue to wait too long, I won't be going anywhere because right now I'm unsure of what to change in it.
     
  6. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    If you use the search engine, you'll find a thread with query links which should assist you.

    Edit: Here's a link I found on an earlier post. Hope it helps.
    AgentQuery.com
    http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it doesn't hurt anything to post a query letter for critique... it's done all the time...

    fyi, i agree with whoever said you should NOT use 'att'n' and SHOULD use 'dear'... you want to establish a personal relationship with an agent, not sell them a product...

    if you want personal help with your query, i mentor writers of all breeds and also help them with their queries, so feel free to drop me a line any time... i can also send you some tips from the pros on how to write good ones...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  8. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Yeah I've been looking on that for years. It still doesn't help anything right now.

    I'll give you an email mamamia, but didn't you say earlier you won't help with anything that involves violence, back in one of my earlier threads?
     
  9. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    You will never know if your query is good enough for a specific agent until you send it out :p

    I intend of asking a few proffs to take a look at mine when the time comes.

    If you would like to post your hook or brief summary up here I'd be glad to give you a comment on it. good luck
     
  10. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    A Wo Query

    September 14th, 2009



    (My name and address)


    Jenny Rappaport
    15-9 Interlaken Court
    Freehold, NJ 07728

    Dear Jenny Rappaport:

    A lowly street fighter and a vindictive queen form an alliance against the world’s most dangerous criminal.

    In the year 1880 in the country Alyuwan, underground street fighter Andrew Scaves, prepares for his championship match. During the intercession he attends a ceremonial festival where he witnesses the assassination of the king and queen. A week later after his match, Andrew wakes up one morning to find the new queen on his doorstep. Her visit isn’t one of leisure. She blackmails Andrew into assisting her on a mission to subdue justice to a man merely known as The Red Terrorist.

    Hello Ms. Rappaport, I am aware of your current affiliation with author John Joseph Adams whom has written a sequel to the classic THE LIVING DEAD anthology and the reprint of THE IMPROBABLE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, a book that I am a fan of. According to your blog on litsoup.blogspot.com you are looking for urban fantasy novels to represent and fortunately I have written one. I hope that you'll consider my proposal for KRYSTAL LIGHT which is 145,000 words in length. I thank you for taking the time to read my letter and I look forward to hearing from you.



    Sincerely,




    (My Name)

    I also wrote an alternate to Ms. Clark the only difference is this ending.

    Hello Ms. Clark, I am aware of your previous affiliation with the literary agency Writer's House as an assistant agent. I would love to be represented by such an accomplished agent as yourself and according to your interview on March 3 of this year with Gretchen Mcneil of gretchenmcneil.blogspot.com you are looking for urban fantasy novels to represent and fortunately I have written one. I hope that you'll consider my proposal for KRYSTAL LIGHT which is 145,000 words in length.


    This is for critique and advice for my query to an agent. I've been debating for a while if they're good enough becuase a lot of people have been giving me mix deals like if I should put in a bio despite me not having anykind of personal relation to my characters except for maybe a minor one. Also I was thinking about mentioning another urban fantasy novelist who may deal with terrorism and is popular, but I couldn't find any. I was also questioning how to say what sets my book apart because whenever I do most people say that I sound cocky. I'm just confused here. Please help.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i probably did, but can't possibly remember all posters' works, or all of my many posts... so, no, i wouldn't be able to help you with a work that has violent content, sorry to say...
     
  12. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    If you're not done the novel, shouldn't you wait before sending a query anyways?

    I'm going to post back at a later time. I haven't got much right now. But I, for one, will give you my take on them.
     
  13. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    I've been done for about a year.
     
  14. sorites
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    sorites Senior Member

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    I've got some comments for you, but you should know up front that I've never written a query letter before, and I'm not published, so take this with a grain of salt.

    First thing: I found the intro to your letter jarring. You just jump right in and start with a brief summary of your novel. Then you move into a lengthier summary of your novel. Only at the end do you actually address the reader (in the case, Ms. Rappaport).

    I would write it like this:

    A few more comments:

    1) If this agent is looking for urban fantasy, she might not be interested in your novel because from the sound of it, it's not urban fantasy. For one thing, it's set in 1880, and for another, it sounds like it's either on an alternate Earth or on another planet altogether. Neither of those things is consistent with urban fantasy.

    2) Don't say you are "writing one" if it's already written. I've never submitted a novel query before, but I guarantee you, she will drop your letter as soon as she thinks it's a work in progress.

    3) I think 145000 words might be too much for a first-time author.
     
  15. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    huh I put written it's right here in the quote I postewd about two hours ago.

     
  16. sorites
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    sorites Senior Member

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    I see. Well, your first example says, "...you are looking for urban fantasy novels to represent and fortunately I am writing one." That's what I was basing my comments on. Hopefully the rest of my comments were of some use to you.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To me, the word proposal indicates a planned novel, not a completed manuscript. The same with and I am writing one. It seems to me you are sending a mixed message. Make it clearer that what you have is a completed manuscript for consideration, not a work in progress.
     
  18. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I'm no pro, so feel free to take my opinion lightly and make me look foolish if you really want to...

    I've learned the when formula for the hooks in a query letter.

    I was thinking that maybe you could make your a little better my not finishing so abruptly.

    For example:

    When John Doe, a lowly street fighter, and a vindictive queen, form an alliance against the world’s most dangerous criminal, something happens
    Maybe "things don't go as smoothly as they predicted.

    Next, your brief summary is shorter than the last paragraph. You don't want to be hiding anything from the agent. You need to let them know of anything important that happens because, after all, that can be a contributing factor to the agent's decision. Something tells me that your missing some information in the summary. You said it was 145 K. There's got to be more to it. What happens when the Red Terrorist (which is a cool name, no doubt) and John Doe and the Queen clash?

    I guess your last paragraph is not too badly done. Perhaps mention your target audience somewhere here.

    "Please consider Krystal Light, 145 000 words in length, targeted at/aiming at/ for an audience of blah blah blah"

    That's as much as I can see. As I said, I'm no expert. Hopefully Terry might comment, he's the man!

    Good Luck
     
  19. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    A lowly street fighter and a vindictive queen form an alliance against the world’s most dangerous criminal. I think this is a worthy hook, though your hook should have as much of a sting as you can give it. The first two characters sound interesting, but the villain sounds bland. Maybe give us the singular characteristic that epitomizes his evil or something-- something that makes this book unique. Remember we've all seen people in power manipulating noble lower-class warriors to do their dirty work.

    In the year 1880 in the country Alyuwan, underground street fighter Andrew Scaves, prepares for his championship match. During the intercession he attends a ceremonial festival where he witnesses the assassination of the king and queen. A week later after his match, Andrew wakes up one morning to find the new queen appears on his doorstep. Remeber precision with words is everything in a query. Each word should either strengthen your voice or strengthen the plot.Her visit isn’t one of leisure. She blackmails Andrew into assisting her on a mission to subdue Do you know what that means? Suppress justice? I think a simple 'bring' would be effective here justice to a man merely known as The Red Terrorist.

    Okay and now comes the part where you tell us whats special about your novel. So far your action hero sounds like well Jean-Claude Van Damme and your villain is a a nondescript terrorist. This query will never fly the way its expressed now. We need more about your mc and about your villain. Actually this query should focus on what we're left to guess once your current one ends. The two elements that you spend a great deal of words on: 1) vengeful daughter of murdered queen and king; and 2) Your MC is a champion street fighter are the only parts that matter, and they can be merged into one or two sentences followed by the princess showing up at his door.

    Then dedicate a few more lines to either expanding the plot, or showing us why we should care about Andrew in this predicament ie. characterization


    I suspect you've got a good story, but you haven't shown that to anybody yet.
     
  20. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Do you mean I should mention something that happens during the plot half way through the book or the end? I was given the impression just to talk about the main plot that occurs in the beginning.

    I greatly appreciate your comments along with everyone elses. The thing I probably have the most trouble with is describing audience. Of course I know it would appeal to both science fiction and fantasy readers, but I have to make it sound interesting. Again, I just want to say thanks.
     
  21. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I'm confused. I thought it was basic steps to make sure you briefly summarize your entire novel, without any really big lose ends. If you have a twist or a turn, you better mention it to the agent. At least that what I've found during my research. If I'm wrong, well, sorry...
     
  22. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay lets clear this up. When you research queries and what to include you'll get back a lot of rules and guidelines, many of them conflicting with each other. There's only one rule that matters:

    Grab the reader.

    If the premise of your book is unique then use that. If your main character is fresh and captivating sell the book around him. If your world is ingeniously imaginitive, describe it in all its grandeur.

    If the only thing thats original or enthralling happens halfway through the book then thats your selling point. Add it in. You want to add the best aspects of your books, regardless of where it falls in the book.

    But you still have to make sense above all of that. So if the plot setup is a bit anemic then condense it to as few words as possible, so your query can focus on the parts that GRAB.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    whoever gave you that impression must not know much about the business end of being a writer... agents and publishers need to know what happens in the beginning, the middle, and especially the end, in order to decide if it's a book they think they can sell...

    they do not want to be teased, as if you're treating them like potential book readers, so don't leave out any major plot elements, while keeping the summary down to a single paragraph [or at most two smallish-medium ones], in the query...
     
  24. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Exactly what I was trying to get across
     
  25. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    That applies to queries? I thought it was more for synopsis. Most examples I read online give more of a general summary of the plot and doesn't ruin the end.
     

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