So I've been working on a covering letter for my completed manuscript. This is a dark, introspective book about the nature of love, parenthood and taboo. It is weird and different and runs in a direction that is going to be uncomfortable for most. Duly warned, let's see what I've got. ---BEGIN--- When she couldn't get pregnant Judith joined a cult, looking to escape the world outside. But inside the cold walls of the Advent church she found her baby; Ellie, son of the prophet, the only child in loveless, adult world. But now he's becoming a man and taking his father's place and Judith has to face the realization that one day mothers have to let their children go. Her baby, the only thing that ever stopped her crying. Children Of God is a 110,000 word coming of age story set inside an oppressive Christian sect following a fraudulent, self-appointed prophet. Ellie is the prophet's fifteen year old son, heir to the churches fortune and thousands of followers across the world. He has never known a world outside the church, only leaving the building to preach. He has never been to school, never spoken to a non-believer and never had a friend. He can't remember his mother and he barely knew his father. Judith is the only person who ever really cared for Ellie, raising him by herself. Ellie alone knows how monstrous the church truly is and as he takes over he immediately strives to change it. At every step he is opposed by the disciples, his father's lieutenants, bullying and ignoring him. Judith teaches him how to be a real leader and make changes. Despite constant friction Ellie succeeds; allowing followers to contact their families and opening a homeless shelter. But Ellie still feels unfulfilled. He doesn't understand how to say that he's lonely. Judith encourages Ellie to work at the shelter and meet more people, to start having his own life. She's torn to feel that soon he won't need her but she's happy to see him spread his wings. Soon he is asking her how to kiss someone but she's stunned when Ellie kisses her. In a moment she see's how unhealthy their relationship has been for years. She explains to him she probably isn't the girl for him, but she doesn't pull away from kissing him, flattered that this wonderful young man is attracted to her. As time passes a chaste romance begins to form between them. But the disciples are plotting in the shadows. With Ellie's focus elsewhere there's no-one to stop them as they work to tear down the reformed church. Will Ellie be able to stop their machinations and keep his new love or will he and Judith be forced apart by a gentile world that won't understand them? ---FIN--- Like I said at the top this is a dark book with complex and uncomfortable themes but I have no idea if I should be more directly signposting that in the covering letter and if so how to do it. Is that something for a synopsis? Is that something worth mentioning at all? It goes very much against my grain to be shouting about something that really should be self evident and if it was me reading submissions someone saying 'there's great characters in it' would be responded to with a skeptical look and a muttered 'great are they? i'll be the judge of that'. Clearly i'm supposed to be selling my work here but the last thing I want to do is turn people off before they even get to my sample and to me at least overselling makes me judge a person so much more harshly than underselling and being pleasantly surprised. As for the rest; does this work for you? Does it make you want to read it? Is this how I should be selling it? Should I be talking about themes over plot? Too long, too short? It's been hard getting it this short and I have no idea how to slim it down further. It already feels painfully blunt in how it's written and cutting it further I really don't know how. I have no idea what genre to pitch this as. It's absolutely a coming of age story first and foremost but that's not really a genre. It is a love story but it's nothing like a traditional romance. It's written about a teenager but it's certainly not a teenage book; in fact most parents would probably prefer to keep their children away from it. By default i've been calling it literary fiction but that's about all I've got. On a slightly different topic: I worry that the title, Children Of God, sounds a little generic. It's incredibly fitting for a number of reasons (not least of which that Ellie is literally the child of god) but, well it is a bit generic. Every time I really think of it I just come back to seeing how well it fits the material but I think it's worth discussing changing it if that would help. Anything else come to mind, let me know. If any of this makes you want to read the book (presumably because you are someone of refined and dare I say exotic tastes and believe that positive perspectives of incest is a criminally under served genre) then get in touch. It would be nice to know if I can write worth a damn before I send it off.