Author Topic: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?  (Read 18052 times)

Offline Wicked Redhead

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Dear  (name)
   Good morning, afternoon or evening.  I’ve written a  manuscript entitled (name). It’s a Science Fiction/Romance novel. Approximately 86, 500 words.
   
   My novel is based on a princess who was sold into slavery by her father. She refuses to break under the harshest punishment and in turn becomes a mercenary herself. The novel deals with her experience with her first master who is quickly falling in love with her. The birth of their child and how ruthless she has become. She is a merciless warrior as she travels the Known Universe. Searching for her father, whom she finds as well as trying to stay far from her  former master. With pained memories of losing her loved one, Jack, and living with the knowledge she went mad. Killed an entire village of the innocent and guilty. She acquired a new friend, Raw’d,  to free other imprisoned slaves. Being sure nothing of her past is turned up. As far as she’s concerned, the slave Dragonfly no longer exists. They try to save another kidnapped princess and at the end of the novel we find out that Jack really is alive.
   
   This completed novel is just the beginning of Dragonfly’s tale. The sequel that I’m writing at this moment deals with another lover, Hunter, who is part wolf. She will also meet her long lost love, Jack. The ending of this series will be with her ruling her original home planet. Jack and Hunter on each side.
   
You can reach me by the SASE I enclose, Loveofwriting18@yahoo.com, or 1-***-***-****. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hope to be hearing from you soon.
Christine K*******
« Last Edit: June 19, 2008, 05:56:22 PM by ChristineK. »
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Offline Crowe

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2008, 09:14:05 PM »
I've never written a query letter before so I can't help with the content, but I would change 'Hope to be hearing from you soon' to 'I look forward to hearing from you soon.' That's always how I end cover letters when applying for jobs!

Offline nightowl

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2008, 11:55:36 PM »
Christine,

I would definitely drop the "Good morning, afternoon or evening".  Dear Ms. So&So, or Dear Mr. So&So is all you need.  And I would definitely drop the "Hope to be hearing from you soon." The agent knows when she sees your query that you hope to hear from her soon and that you are dying to hear from her quickly--not that you necessarily will.  Some agents don't bother even answering.   


Is Dragonfly the name of your main character?  I'm thinking it is. 

I would probably begin the letter something like this:



I am seeking representation for (name of book), a science fiction/romance.  The manuscript is complete at 87,000 words.

(Name of Book) is the story of Dragonfly, a princess who is sold into slavery by her father.  Although her first master falls in love with her and she bears him a child, she is strong and slavery turns her into a warrior.  (The writing of your paragraph is rather muddy.  Did she escape and begin searching for her father?  Be very clear and concise in this paragraph).


You'll notice in my suggested beginning that I got the "complete" right up front.  Agents usually want to know three things immediately or they probably won't bother reading to the end.  They want to know how long the book is, the genre and (if you've not published before and have a name), have you finished the novel?  They get dozens of queries every day and reading them and answering (if they choose to do so) is only one part of their job.  That is the reason they prefer only a single page and the reason they probably won't read to the end of the query if they don't know you have finished the book.

And make sure you are ready to query your book before you send out that first query letter.  Have you had at least two people, writer friends or teachers, etc. go over the manuscript and offer critique and suggestions?  And have you then rewritten where necessary?  Are you sure it is as perfect grammar-wise as you can make it?  If so, get your query ready.  You should also have a one page synopsis ready and a longer, more complete synopsis prepared just in case you are asked for it.

I hope this helps. 


As writers, we are all on the same path--some of us taking first steps, others well along on the road.  Those who write because they must are obliged to step over those who abandon their dreams because the way is rocky and steep.

Offline nightowl

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2008, 12:22:37 AM »
Christine,

I intended to suggest that you end with:  "May I send you the manuscript?"  Then add "Sincerely," or whatever and your name.  Usually in the business world you would drop down two spaces after you typed your name and do this:

Sincerely,



Christine Lastname

Enc. SASE
(I sometimes don't bother and simply enclose the SASE, especially if it would throw me on to the next page.)


By the way, I use a letterhead with all my information already printed at the top but that is a personal choice.  It uses a little space but it saves trying to work it into the query letter.  And the letterhead is one I designed on the computer, attractive but simple.
As writers, we are all on the same path--some of us taking first steps, others well along on the road.  Those who write because they must are obliged to step over those who abandon their dreams because the way is rocky and steep.

Offline Wicked Redhead

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2008, 12:57:54 PM »
Thanks for all the advice  ;D
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Offline Wicked Redhead

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2008, 01:22:04 PM »
GRRR! I'm having such a hard time narrowing it down. Have it down to two and half pages. Any other suggestions?
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Offline Wicked Redhead

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2008, 01:29:17 PM »
HERES THE CONDENSED VERSION.  :-\

Dear (name)
   I seek representation for (name), a science fiction/romance novel. My completed manuscript is approximately 87, 000 words.
   Dragonfly is a merciless warrior twisted by the evil in this universe. Created by the sins of her father and the love of her master. Dragonfly didn’t always start out as a slave. Whisked away from her peaceful home where she was heir to the throne. Now she spent her days training to fend of the beasts that call themselves men and her night with the mercenary leader, Mercer. She learns to kill, to forget about regret or pain. She can only focus on her escape. Her trust betrayed for that escape until she is in the care of Mercers brother, Serin,  who is more of a sadist than simple mercenary.  He straps Dragonfly into a air tight, coffin like box. Knowing of her fears he sinks that box into the nearest river with Dragonfly in it. She closes her eyes as her fears swamp her only to wake up as her sword slices a child throat. The entire village, killed by her own hands. Dragonfly runs from the massacre that is now on her shoulders. Traveling the empty planet in search of a way to forget her memories. After discovering a new, deadly species, Mercer returns to collect her from his brother. It is a storm to end all life that hit’s the planet. Mercer soon finds her and traps her in a Forest area as it floods with the downpour of rain. Taking her body and scarring her mind. In one last attempt at freedom Dragonfly sabotages the water ship that would have brought them to the starship. Hoping Mercer was killed in the wreck she plunges into the storm to make her way to the ship. Finally getting aboard and wanting desperately to return home.  She chooses a planet at random. The five month trip to a new planet is taken by way of a traveling tube. Dragonfly is the name of a slave and she was no longer one. Now Leigh, Leigh is a great name for a mercenary. Leigh came upon the new planet with the surprise that she is pregnant with Mercers child. The starship lands roughly on a prison island. Leaving Leigh to defend herself and her unborn child. Here she meets Raw’d. This dark haired fool says its his destiny to be by her side in combat. The famous Seer had apparently seen them in a vision. After some time to bond and some close calls she believes that just maybe they were meant to fight together. Keegan, her child, is born. Leigh knows that they have to find a way off this island and back into the real world.  With Raw’d and the Seer’s help they do escape the island and creatures know as Buggers. Dropping Keegan off at a haven she and Raw’d leave the planet with the Seer’s help. As long as she was away from Keegan, Mercer could never find him. Leigh and Raw’d make their way to planet Vana. Here they are approached by the King who is searching for his kidnapped daughter. When a price was selected, after all she was a mercenary, she goes after her. The search takes her and Raw’d all over the planet. Into an enemies den and into a world of torture. When they finally do figure out where the princess is, Leigh is badly wounded and Raw’d looses his pinky toes. The princess, however, is found to late. She drowned in a lake right near the main city. The culprit, the kings own brother, is soon found. He was one of the bastards who tried to buy Leigh when she was a slave. After ruthless torture Leigh kills him in the dirty dungeon of the Kings castle. The Seer again intervenes and sends a critical message. Her father is the one who set up this kidnapping. Soon Leigh and Raw’d are off to planet Gelva to find what Raw’d believes is another slave auction. Before they leave planet Arkon, Leigh is startled to see Mercer. Alive and with a limp he enters Arkon’s landing station just as they leave.
   On Gelva she and Raw’d search for the slave auction. One day, while eating in a tavern Mercer walks through the doors. Leigh can’t breathe as he walks right past her hidden form. She rushes from there with Raw’d on her heels. Crying and breaking down in his arms. When the slave auction is finally found Leigh is bombarded with memories of planet Feral. She kills all the master. Sending the slaves to Raw’d to begin their trek for freedom through a hilly landscape. With all the blood soaking her skin she has yet to spill the one that matters most. Her fathers. She finds him in a small room upstairs. He can only struggle as his daughter ties him to the bed. Setting him on fire, all that was done to her was revenged by the death of this dark soul. Leigh then prepares to kill herself, to join Jack in the Serenity Fields. She misses him too much to spend the rest of her life without her blue eyed love.
   Roen, recently rescued slave, comes in just as she is preparing to end her life. Saving her from the fate she wants. When she finally didn’t want a hero, one comes along. She awakens to Raw’d and the former slaves. They head  Toward the nearest town. She would like nothing better than to escape Roen and this dreadful planet. The Seer however sends a message. Roen is to go with them to another planet. The triple threat  heads toward the landing station to begin their journey to yet another planet. Leigh just enters the starship as another lands. The scarred warrior steps from his craft as one takes off. His eyes scanning the area for all his traveling he is only searching for one thing. Jack is only searching for his lost princess.
   The sequel that I’m writing at this moment deals with another lover, Hunter, who is part wolf. She will also meet her long lost love, Jack. The ending of this series will be with her ruling her original home planet. Jack and Hunter on each side If you are interested in representing me please give me a call at *-***-***-****,  email me at Loveofwriting18@yahoo.com or return the SASE enclosed. Thank you so much for your time and attention.
   
I look forward to hearing from you.
Christine K*******
   
   
http://christinekirchoff.wordpress.com/

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Offline Alex44k

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2008, 02:34:32 PM »
I didn't get through it all, but I'm not sure about starting it with "I seek representation..." because that is the reason you're writing the query.  However, I start all my job application letters with "I am applying for such and such position..."  Different situation though. 

Also it's hard to read right now b/c of formatting.  Can you seperate out the paragraphs?

I'm also trying to write a synopsis, and cutting it down is hard. 


Offline nightowl

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2008, 03:28:24 PM »
Interesting Alex, that you picked up on the "I am seeking representation."  I was the one who suggested that start for Christine.  I agree with you, but I've not been able to come up with a better initial opening.  Many authors use the phrase and it does tell the agent right off the bat why you are writing the letter.  On the other hand, it should be obvious.  If anyone has a better idea I would love to hear it.

Christine, I have a query out now making the rounds for a novel.  In mid-May I sent out 20 query letters.  Now, a month later, I've had back  8 or 9 rejections.  Two of those were personal letters which were rejections but nice letters that acknowledged the quality of the writing and urged me to continue seeking representation.  So 8 or 9 rejections. But another agent asked for the entire manuscript and I'm waiting to see if anything happens with her.  Now, I may be wrong but from everything I hear about agents, I'm thinking my query letter must be doing the job.

The reason I'm telling you about the query thing I have going at the moment is because I think my letter must be at least decent.  And here is what may discourage you.  The portion of that letter--the part that tells about my novel--is only . . . are you ready? . . .
eight lines long.  Sounds impossible, doesn't it?  Believe me when I tell you I worked and worked to get the thing boiled down to the bone.  It isn't easy. 

And you can probably guess what I'm thinking about your latest revision even though you have worked hard at it.  Too long.  Not that you have to get it down to eight lines, but you don't want to tell the entire story in your query, nor is it necessary to mention every character in your book.  Hit the high points. 

And keep at it.  I can tell you are working hard.  It may be a long road getting there but it can be done. 
As writers, we are all on the same path--some of us taking first steps, others well along on the road.  Those who write because they must are obliged to step over those who abandon their dreams because the way is rocky and steep.

Offline Wicked Redhead

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2008, 05:25:18 PM »
Damned right i'm working hard and getting fustrated! I am so not quitting though. I'm really not good at anything, but writing.  ::) Thanks again. I'll do a new one and try to condense more. I think this is the hardest part of the whole manuscript process!  :-[
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Offline Wicked Redhead

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2008, 05:42:03 PM »
This one is less than a page  ;D What do you think?

Dear (name)
   I seek representation for (name), a science fiction/romance novel. My completed manuscript is

 approximately 87, 000 words.

   This manuscript is the beginning of Dragonfly. She was once a princess who was sold into

slavery by her father. Her first and only master changed her heart into something black and hard. She

escapes him only to return to the world pregnant with his child. No longer a slave she changes her name

to Leigh. She gives birth around the time Raw’d is introduced. He was told by the famous Seer that

together they would save the Known Universe. They leave her child in a haven on planet Arkon. Making

there way to another only to find that they are hired as mercenaries to find a lost princess. This endeavor

leaves our heroine saddened. The princess, so much like herself, is killed. Unable to be saved she tortures

the culprit, the kings own brother. An urgent message from the Seer has Raw’d and Leigh onward to

another planet. The man behind the kidnapped was no one other than her father. On Gelva she has a

close call with her former master. Finally catching up and exacting revenge on her dastardly father. Her

heart still aches for the man she loved, Jack,  was killed by his hands. Only at the end, Jack appears.

Having landed on the planet as Leigh leaves. He never stops searching for his lost princess.
   
     If you are interested in representing me please give me a call at *-***-***-****,  email me at

Loveofwriting18@yahoo.com or return the SASE enclosed. Thank you so much for your time and

attention.
   

I look forward to hearing from you.

Christine K*******

http://christinekirchoff.wordpress.com/

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Offline nightowl

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2008, 05:52:56 PM »
Wow!  You really cut it down!!  I am super impressed.  I still think the writing is a little muddy here and there but you've made tremendous progress.  Go, girl, go!

I think writing a query is every bit as hard as writing the book and a lot more frustrating.  It is always harder to say so much in so few words.  I worked on my query for more than two weeks practically full time.  Wrote, deleted, wrote, deleted, pulled my hair out by the roots and went at it again.  Hated it.  

I entered a contest a while back and have learned I've made it to the final eight entries.  Won't know who wins for another month, but yesterday I got the judges critiques.  It was all good but they think my synopsis needs to be "crisper".  I worked on that until I was nearly crazy but evidently I need to give it another shot.  I may have to find a dictionary of curse words if there is such a thing. I think I'm going to need some new ones as I've about worn out the ones I already know.
As writers, we are all on the same path--some of us taking first steps, others well along on the road.  Those who write because they must are obliged to step over those who abandon their dreams because the way is rocky and steep.

Offline Ninny

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2008, 05:59:33 PM »
Oh..Night Owl...I am learning so much from you!!  (You should change your name to Wise Owl!!)

Thankyou for sharing your knowledge with us all.  It really is appreciated by more people than you probably think!!
Sorry Chistine, don't mean to hi-jack your thread, but Night Owl is definately full of good advice!!

Rowena x

Offline Wicked Redhead

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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2008, 06:13:23 PM »
No problem. Night Owl is helping so amazingly! Good luck with that contest. Let me know if you win and about the manuscript.  :D I'll try to make it a little less...er...muddy. :D
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Re: New query.... Its less than a page....need advice! good or bad?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2008, 06:16:16 PM »
Hello Christine.  My name is Wolfe.  I'm new here, but I know my way around query letters and what agents look for.

I can tell you right now, your query has serious flaws.  Bear in mind that agents scan over a query in thirty seconds or less.  They look for the error or telling sign that you lack professionalism.  They do this because agents and their assistants must go through so many a day.  Also, remember a query letter gives insight into the manuscript--huge insight.

Agents believe, and I agree, that your writing shows the quality of skill in the query letter.

Now, this all said, I can help.  But I want to warn you that my style of critique can be harsh and brutal.  If your skin isn't thick, please say so until you are ready.

Keep in mind that agents, editors, and especially critics are brutally honest.  If you want into publishing, always remember this.

Wolfe
« Last Edit: June 20, 2008, 06:18:40 PM by Wolfe »