Monday, December 3, 2007

Query Advice Needed

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  1. Like I said before, I'm no authority on query letters. Check out my advice I wrote in response to your question on my blog. This does seem a bit long. I can only say I think it needs to be weeded down and polished. Check out the resources I recommended in response to your question on my blog. Also, I don't think it's a good idea to post your query on the Internet. Join Critique Circle and get more private help from other aspiring authors there. You'll also get a lot of encouragement from people in the same boat.

    You might also check out these blogs-

    She's a published author.

    She's an aspiring author.

    They both write similar stories and can probably give a whole heck of a lot better advice than I can!

    Whatever you do, don't give up. You've written a riveting tale and you've probably got a lot more of them lurking in your imagination too. They need a good home.

  2. I thought this was really awesome; there's lots of great, juicy conflict detailed and teh hawt sexxoring attraction is palpable. I don't think you need to change this.

    One point I was a bit confused on was that when I got to the third paragraph, I wondered whether Shar knows Davyn is a bodyguard or not. The first paragraph makes it seem like she does, and the third, like she doesn't.

    Still, the query's pretty great as is. Don't mess it up trying to explain that one point. Excellent work!

  3. I also thought it was a really great query, but I'm going to mirror Kimber an and say it was too long... the third paragraph is where you lose me a little and I'm not sure you need the whole thing... plus, you switch pov's in the third paragraph - does your novel switch between your female protag and the bodyguard's pov?

    I'm going to stop back when I get a little time today and see if I can give you a line edit, alla JJdebenedictis' Goblin Crucible a few weeks ago... you should check that out on her blog, it was a great thread where all the commenters worked out their pitches together.

  4. Thanks for your help, guys. To answer Merry's question... Yes, my novel does have multiple POVs. I'll have to check to see what you mean about JJdebenedictis' Goblin Crucible's pitch party.

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  7. Thanks everyone. I checked out the Goblin Crucible and have been reading both Kristin Nelson and Jessica Faust's blogs. The thing is I can't seem to apply the magic to my own work. It's funny. I have critiqued other people's query letters and I know what I'm doing. I am simply blinded by my words, characters and story. Apparently, this is normal, but I hate it. The other thing is that there aren't enough romantic suspense query samples or pitch samples out there. That's why I decided to beg for help. LOL

    I've printed your comments out and am now going to go through them and play with some words a bit. I'll let you know when I come up with a different pitch. Looking at your comments, I'm thinking I may try a couple of versions. In any case, I'll repost them in here. Thanks again.

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  9. I don't know a bloomin' thing about writing query letters. (which will probably result in my descent into raving lunacy as I try to write my own) but I have to say that I would be very interested in reading the story.

    So your query has accomplished that much!

  10. Lynette,

    Sorry I missed your follow up comment for so long... Okay, the best way to know what an agent prefers is to study the books they rep and what they say on their blogs, submission guidelines, etc... I follow BookEnds and PubRants blogs and they seem great, unfortunately they don't represent middle grade fiction (which is what I'm working on) so I haven't studied their books that closely.

    You might want to go to their list of represented titles, jot them down and make a trip to the book store to do a quick perusal and see if your book might fall into their preference. I noticed on Nathan Bransford's blog that a lot of what he noticed in first paragraph or first line challenges was in first person - I haven't yet researched his list enough to see if that follows through in his represented authors but if you look thoroughly enough you will see a certain personal preferences come through.

    Another great resource to check out agents' preferences is Herman's Guide to Literary Agents and Editors... It's expensive so I haven't gotten a new edition in a long time because I'm not ready to query and they update every year - but his compilation is great because it not only includes submission preferences but personal likes and dislikes, hobbies, that sort of thing. When an agent doesn't blog you have to find other ways to research them that give you a sense of what they'd be like to work with as well as how good they are at what they do - both important factors.

    For the pitch portion of the query, the best advice I've read so far was from pubrants - don't look at it as trying to show the entire ms in one or two paragraphs - instead concentrate on your inciting action - it should occur in the first fifty pages and be the main conflict that runs through your novel. Agents and readers expect that there will be other subplots and themes running through your work, all you're trying to do in the query is hook the agent, the same as the back cover blurb is meant to do...

    I hope that helps some. I'm by no means an expert but I'll share whatever resources I have.