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  1. cabbage
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    cabbage Member

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    My query - Don’t be kind please.

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by cabbage, Mar 6, 2013.

    My query - Don’t be kind please.



    Here’s my query letter, the comparison with similar books, and the table of content (chapter outline), the whole proposal. I’ll appreciate your criticism. Being kind in these things doesn’t help. The harsher you are, the better.

    I chose a kind of sensational approach in my query with strangely sounding claims like ‘what is moral is illegal’ and ‘just a few generations removed from tribal existence’. My intention was to catch the attention of the agent. I’m not sure it’s the right approach though. Perhaps an agent will not be hooked, but will think that this sounds too absurd and nonsensical to deserve checking.

    I’m also not sure about the tense I use in my table of content. I found a lot of samples of query letters, but no tables of content.



    Dear ………. (specific name),

    I note you represented ( author, Title,)…… and I have written a book on a related topic.

    BULGARIA IN EU: A MATCH MADE IN HELL is a 105,000 word insider’s view of the Bulgarian society and judiciary from the perspective of a Bulgarian attorney. My book can be classified as eurosceptic as it suggests Bulgaria is ill-suited to be in one club with the Western countries and that EU attempts to address this reality are misguided. The year 2014 will see work restrictions lifted. A rough comparison is as though every Mexican may freely settle in the USA. There are publications on how many Bulgarians are expected to move to the UK, but there are none about the culture of those immigrants. The book sheds light on little known facts such as Bulgarians are just a few generations removed from tribal existence. It covers counter-intuitive mechanisms: For example, in the West law and order go together; in Bulgaria, the enforcement of the law causes disorder. In the West morality and legality go together; in Bulgaria what is moral is illegal. In the West liberal policies (such as high taxation) go against the interest of the rich; in Bulgaria the super rich have become so thanks to liberal policies.The book will appeal to many in the UK who harbour worries about a large influx of new emigrants. In some respects it is the topic of the day because, with UK considering whether to stay in the EU. The new immigration wave may become the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

    I am a Bulgarian lawyer and live in Bulgaria. I have published hundreds of articles in some of the biggest national newspapers such s the Trud Daily, Novinar Daily and Pari Weekly. Some of these are available on the web and may be found by googling my name in Cyrillic.

    Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
    Sincerely yours,







    My book is at the intersection of Bulgaria and euroscepticism. The two go hand in hand these days. Nigel Farage talks about the Bulgarians and the Romanians who are coming to UK and on his party website there’s even a clock counting the time left.

    There are no serious books about the contemporary Bulgarian society on Amazon. Here are all that can be found:
    - How To Buy Property In Bulgaria: A Brit's Scrapbook: Everything a Brit Needs to Know About Buying,Investing and Enjoying One of the World's Fastest Growing Property Markets. As the name suggests, this book has a rather special subject.
    - Bulgaria (Lonely Planet Country Guides). Obviously this book gives the perspective of a tourist guide. The same goes for The Rough Guide to Bulgaria (Rough Guide Travel Guides)
    - CultureShock! Bulgaria: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Cultureshock Bulgaria: A Survival Guide to Customs & Etiquette). This book does not explain the inner workings of the Bulgarian society. It is superficial and the information in it can easily be found on the internet in English, not to mention that not all of it is correct.
    - Bulgaria by Frank Fox is something different, but it has been first published in 1915.
    Still they are doing well on Amazon.
    Eurosceptic books are popular on Amazon, however none of these concern the kind of immigrants to be expected from Bulgaria.








    Introduction

    Overview of sources for studying Bulgaria. Many statistics, that in the West are taken for granted, are not compiled in this country. Other reasons why it is impossible to study Bulgaria by documents alone. Examples from the Soviet era and from the present-day Bulgarian judiciary. How unreliable a source the Bulgarian press is.


    Chapter 1: Taxation Without Representation

    EU powerless to solve the internal Bulgarian problems unless the funds come hand in hand with hand-cuffs. Bulgarians willing to lose their sovereignty.


    Chapter 2: Historical Roots

    Morality and Law in an Historical Context. Why Bulgarian history is not made by Bulgarians. The national holiday reflects the fact that Bulgarian history is not made by Bulgarians.


    Chapter 3: Frontage

    The gap between reality and documentation in the society and in the practices of state officials. To fulfil Western stereotypical expectations the middlemen named themselves ‘agents’. Power parallel to state power. Why whatever diplomatic pressure is brought by Brussels against Sofia, it will not make much difference. Bulgaria willing to enact any law as long as it is not enforced.


    Chapter 4: The Bulgarian State and Politics

    The popular myth of the 1300 years of Bulgarian history. In the East founding a state is not necessarily about a declaration or an international treaty and therefore there may not be a concrete year of establishing it. What statehood Bulgaria had faded away at the beginning of the 90s. These days it is in process of being created again.
    The natural selection of Bulgarian politicians The traditions of the people beget mafia-like social relations daily.
    The visible part of the Boyko Borisov’s biography. The author’s personal experience with the Bulgarian press with respect to being able to publish critical articles about him. Circumstantial evidence of the unofficial power of Borisov.
    Historical analogies between the emergence of the western states in the Middle Ages and of the Bulgarian one in 21st century.


    Chapter 5: Organized Crime and the State

    The rule of Borisov explained as monopolization of the underground power through taking possession of the official institutions. Why strengthening the said institutions to serve the organized crime may be a positive outcome.
    The traditional lack of clarity about the property rights and how this makes the economy inefficient. Why the organized crime is an intrinsic part of the economy. How the local deal-making traditions make violence indispensible.


    Chapter 6: Morality and Legality: Its Effect On the Bulgarian State

    An overview of the western, of the totalitarian and of the post-totalitarian types of state. The ability of the Bulgarian populace to substitute the legal rules with its own ways, to sabotage determined bosses and to resist being disciplined. National sensitivity thresholds proving stronger than any legal mechanism. The “not being singled out” concept and how it is related to the extent to which law is kept. Live and let live attitudes. An equilibrium between legality and illegality tends to be reached because of purely social factors that have nothing to do with enforcement. Paradoxical situations where corruption prevents total disintegration of the state machinery. Chaos in Bulgaria stemming from the fact that more than one set of rules applies to a given situation. Ostracism as means of enforcing morality. Morality stronger than legality. Peaceful coexistence of legal and illegal practices. Following the herd as the winning strategy. Bulgarians being a few generations from tribal existence. Translated examples of web forums that give an idea of the aggressiveness that characterizes the local society. The 2011 clashes between Bulgarians and Gypsies as an example of switching between morality and legality as dominant social regulators. The specific meaning of the word “morality” in the book. Why morality is detrimental. Architecture that reflects alienation from statehood. Relativistic morality where anything can be substantiated and anything goes. The inefficient Bulgarian way of life. Why if a Bulgarian is to be taken seriously, he has to be threatening. Morality and legality being mutually corrosive.


    Chapter 7:
    Family or Nation

    Any organization above the family level is bound to split. Clarifying the term ‘family’ that has specific meaning in the book. The Bulgarian economy as a zero–sum game. Morality as propaganda rather than a set of rules. Majority looses to the short term benefit of the few. The Bulgarian people are a non-entity. Why Bulgarians talk so much and do so little. Voting as a “feel good” activity. Twaddle and barking - the two types of talk. Bulgarians do not live on a national level, but they are not individualistic either. Hating homosexuals holding society together. The bigger the state gets, the more real power slips from it. The rich being interested in left politics The NGO sector as a projection of the Western expectations.


    Chapter 8: Lawyers, Courts and Civil Justice in Bulgaria

    The assembly line of justice: a comparison between the work-load of the judges in Bulgaria and in UK revealed through the atmosphere in the respective court-rooms. The so called ‘straw’: a device from the kitchen of Bulgarian Justice that helps coping with the overload but replaces the rule of law with tribalism. Нow the low-level administration can determine whether to be controlled by the Judiciary or not. Statistics on settlements: a key issue no report talks about. Why there are no incentives to settle.


    Chapter 9: Some Modest Proposals

    In practice lawyers in Bulgaria are prohibited to work on contingency-fee basis and what the consequences of this are. Examples of unnecessary administrations. The more transparent parliament sessions seems to be, the less transparent they are in reality. A problem with Bulgarian penal justice no one talks about: Increasing the number of statues leads to slowing the pace of prosecuting each crime.
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know nothing about these letters to agents - I will say however "Do you expect the agent to know your name in Cyrillic and then have to google you" or should you attach some references?

    In other words; Do you really think he will be arsed googling you?
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good question!... it's absurd to expect agents to even know what your name would be in cyrillic, or expect them to go to the trouble of trying to convert it... besides, a proper book proposal would include clips of some of your paid credits...

    unfortunately all that is moot, since your writing in the query and other parts of the proposal needs too much correcting for an agent to trust that the ms will be written well enough to be marketable, so this is most likely to end up in their round files...

    it's also not a complete book proposal, with several parts missing... i've helped many clients and mentees put together their non-fiction book proposals, so i speak from experience... you can email me for tips from the pros on how to assemble a good book proposal...

    sorry i didn't have better news for you, chou-chou...

    love and consoling hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  4. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I think what is missing from what you've written is why people would want to read your work. I mean it looks from the chapter overview something almost dry and boring. Academic. I think you need to emphasise the stuff about 2014 more and remember the motto, fear sells. People aren't going to read an academic tome about Bulgaria. But a book called - "The Bulgarians are Coming!" That just might attract some interest.

    In short you need a hook.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  5. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hello Cabbage,

    Time is now with such a project and I would suggest multi-agency approach.

    Telephone Farage press officer. E-Post draft, explain potential for political gain from your observations. These are low-level guys, don't be intimidated.
    Likewise contact back-office of right-wing Conservative MPs.

    Research academic press and political lobby publishers. Can't recall the main r wing group, but L wing equivalent would be Fabian society. Organisations like the Monday club, also check alignment with US political philosophy groups...whoever published 'the new right enlightenment' might be interested. Find who publishes Roger Scruton.

    There's more conventional routes naturally...but time for you is now, good luck with yr hot potato project:)

    ...
    Don't agonize over translation, much difference adds flavour
     
  6. cabbage
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    cabbage Member

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    Thank you for your suggestion Erebh.

    So I include my name in Cyrillic then? The idea to mention Cyrillic was to make my claims checkable and also to remind what the alphabet in Bulgaria is (or else someone may search in Latin alphabet). But I was not sure whether every computer in the West displays Cyrillic properly, it depends on the programs loaded.

    Mammamaia,

    I’ll e-mail you, thank you for your proposal.
    If you care to explain here, what are these ‘clips of some of your paid credits’. I’ve published hundreds of articles and I’ve been paid for all of these. Shall I compile long lists on many pages?

    Psychotick,

    I thought what’s written in the query letter in the beginning explains this. Apparently it doesn’t. In one of my earlier versions there was a line about what will happen to the Thames when the waters of Danube empty into it. Do you think of something along those lines? Still, the book does not cover what will happen to the British society if too many Bulgarians and the like settle in UK and frankly, I don’t believe that too many will settle there. It is about the dysfunctional Bulgarian society. Thank you Greg.


    Thank you matwoolf, I haven’t thought of most of these options except for one which I tried. I’m not sure I tried it well actually, I PMed you on this.
    What do you mean by multi-agency approach? To contact more than one agency without waiting for response from the previous one?
     
  7. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Explore several avenues at the same time. Seems you might have more experience here than myself, but you are looking to create a groundswell of interest in your perspective. There might be one version of your work circulated in academic press, distilled in collaboration with UK professor becomes more accessible for general reader. Who knows at this stage? atb
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't write non-fiction, so take what I say with a pinch of salt. Firstly, I'm not sure who your target audience actually is. You claim that it is interesting for the Brits because of their fear of immigrants. Now, I haven't read the detail to each chapter in your proposal, but simply skimming the chapter titles, I see nothing of any interest to Brits, or anything addressing the fear of immigrants. Rather, I see a book that's an insider's study of Bulgaria. Why would British people be interested in this? I think you might need to make this clearer and rethink the structure and content of the book.

    Okay, so I don't really keep up with the news. But for example:
    1. Who are the people wanting to work in the UK? Are they mainly unskilled people looking for better cash cus the British pound is strong? Are they doctors and lawyers? (and how are their qualifications translated? Often high-profile doctors and lawyers from other countries come in, and they end up working as a cleaner because the British system is biased against them and would not recognise their qualifications)

    2. How many such immigrants are said to be on benefits? Are they on benefits due to a prejudice in the system that means they cannot find work, or is it really because "immigrants are lazy and stealing all our jobs"?

    3. How many such workers end up migrating their entire families here? If they do, do their children enter British schools?

    4. What percentage of immigrants learn to speak English fluently and contribute to British society in terms of tax and other areas?

    5. How much of their own culture are they bringing in and how does that affect those around them, the way the shops are, the way the laws are set up, etc?

    6. How are these immigrants discriminated against, and contributing to British society, despite what the news might have us think? (which is that racism doesn't exist and immigrants are couch potatoes and parasites)

    7. How many people from Bulgaria actually enter the UK and why?

    8. How does Britain being part of the EU affect this, and what would happen should the Brits leave the EU? Would it actually stop or change anything and in what way?

    9. Do British people actually have any reason to fear, or is it all just hype and illusion?

    10. How is the UK regarded by Bulgaria? Is it a "land of plenty"? Is it a land of opportunity? Is it some dream-world where people think they can get jobs and earn a decent living? Or is it none of these, and in fact these are simply ideas the British themselves have transplanted onto the immigrants, and in fact Bulgarians simply want to get out of Bulgaria and the UK happens to be one of the better places? (and you see, all this time, I'm assuming the Bulgarians are the poor people here - is that a justified assumption? Is it correct?)

    These are just some questions I can think of, and I'm a British immigrant. We as a family moved to the UK in 1995 when I was 8 years old and I've been there ever since, until 2 years ago. I'm not part of the heavily discriminated group though, as I'm Chinese born (the stereotype on me is takeaways and restaurants, maths whizz, kung-fu-fighting and generally a genius - generally speaking I do consider myself as being much better off than say, the Muslim or black minority)

    The truth is - I do not think your book will interest the Brits at all. There's nothing wrong with your book, but you may need to think of who your target audience actually is.

    Also, just a note - it's not possible to type Cyrillic on a British keyboard, so there's no point telling agents to google you in Cyrillic. Also, if I can only find your articles if I google you in Cyrillic, does that mean the entire article will also be in Cyrillic, written in Bulgarian? What's an English-speaking, non-Bulgarian agent gonna do with such an article? It wouldn't matter how well you've written it - the agent cannot read it!
     
  9. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Regardless,

    Bulgarian, Romanian immigration is set to be massive issue within UK domestic political agenda over the next 12 months. Even Labour attuned to fears of 'hard-working peoples' VOTES.

    Man has written a book, slant Bulgarian society, its place in Europe. He has an opportunity to change his life's direction: punditry, expert on Bulg/UK relations. Whether he is fanning flames or quelling fears I can't say at this stage and is not relevant. But if he's written 100 000 words demonstrates enthusiasm, is an educated man. He should give it his best shot.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cabbage...
    re 'clips'... since you've had so much work published, you can just list a few of the most prestigious magazines/journals that have paid you for your writings and include 3 of the articles [or first page, if longer than one page]... i'm replying to your email as we 'speak' and will attach tips on how to write an effective proposal...

    later, m
     
  11. cabbage
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    cabbage Member

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    These were valuable suggestions, thank you. It’s back to the drawing board for me. Thank you for your posts.
     
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