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Would you read this?

Poll closed Nov 24, 2016.
  1. Yes

    2 vote(s)
    66.7%
  2. Maybe

    1 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. RayAlamo

    RayAlamo Member

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    Rakshashas In Redhook (257 word query)

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by RayAlamo, Nov 17, 2016.

    Hey guys, please take a look and let me know what you think of my query letter! Any and all feedback appreciated!

    Do you know what a Rakshasha is?

    No?

    Well consider yourself lucky. Up until a few weeks ago neither did Amar Modhi. He was just a regular 16-year-old kid in New York City. His biggest concerns in life were talking to girls, balancing school and his part time job, and trying to get into college. That all changed when Amar came face to face with an ancient Hindu Demon that wasn't supposed to be real. Now he's smack dab in the middle of a millennia-spanning conflict between warring factions of the Hindu Pantheon. Under the tutelage of a restaurant owner who is more than meets the eye, Amar has to figure out how to stop these monsters from the past before they destroy his city.

    Rakshashas in Red Hook is an 80,000-word novel combining elements of Indian Mythology with a contemporary look at South Asian identity in an ever-changing America. The novel also explores more universal themes of identity, coming into adulthood, and finding one’s place in the world.

    A little about me: I'm a US Army Officer and this is my first novel. The idea for this book came from serving in Afghanistan where I read the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita in between missions. I have four other novels mapped out in the same setting, as well as a prequel set in the WWII era. I hope you will join me in bringing this unique story to a wider audience.

    Thanks for taking the time to review my query. I look forward to hearing from you.
     
  2. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    My thoughts:

    1. Never ever start with a question. It irritates an awful lot of agents because it's so overdone.

    2. Demon shouldn't be capitalised. It's not a proper noun.

    3. Why Amar? Why does he have to stop the monsters? How does he meet the demon? At the moment it sounds like he stumbled on the Rakshasha by accident. He'll be a more interesting protagonist if you show him as active, not passive. I need to know what he wants, who he is, and why he's the MC.

    4. What's special about the restaurant owner? Don't tell us there's "more than meets the eye" - tell us what it is. Is he a god? The child of a god? A highly trained secret monster hunter? Details are more intriguing than vagueness.

    5. Who is the main antagonist? If it's a Rakshasha than talk about him, not vague "monsters" or "factions".

    6. What does the main antagonist want? Why do they care about destroying NYC?

    7. You say this explores South Asian identity in America. To me, that's very intriguing, but I don't get any sense of it in the actual blurb. It'll be much more powerful if you show it rather than tell us about it.

    8. Tell the agent the genre. I shouldn't have put this last because it's very important!

    At the moment, I wouldn't read this, even though I have a strong interest in Hinduism and Hindu mythology (and have read the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita). I don't feel any interest in Amar or the war, because I don't know enough about them. If you can make me interested then I would want to read it, I'm sure.
     
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  3. RayAlamo

    RayAlamo Member

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    Thanks Tenderiser, good points. everything I saw online indicated that the query letter needed to be short, concise and to the point. I guess I can add more details about the plot.
     
  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    They do, and it's really hard to get that balance. That's why writing them is so tough!

    Yours is on the short side though - up to 350 words is fine. You have room to play.
     
  5. Adam Kalauz

    Adam Kalauz Member

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    Also, you say it's a 257 word query, but you've only used 125 for the actual blurb. I always assumed that the 250 words can all be used for the story, while the 'boilerplate' and potential personalisation is extra. Having read through the queryshark archives, I'd say most of the queries there focus purely on the blurb, which is 250-350.

    You've got tonnes more space to sell this.

    P.S. I'm intrigued. Tenderiser makes very good points, but I can see the potential for a good book. Tease it out more!
     

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