Author Topic: query  (Read 1098 times)

Offline jessywrites

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query
« on: June 13, 2020, 08:43:11 PM »
n.a
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 08:22:46 AM by jessywrites »

Offline PIJ1951

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Re: Query Letter - Dark Coming of Age
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 07:38:52 AM »
First impressions, it's a long letter. I would be wary at this point of overwhelming the publisher with too much extraneous plot detail or trying to second guess your characters' mindsets. A query letter is meant to whet the appetite for more. The harsh reality is this - publishing houses get dozens of submissions each day and most don't make it past the mail room. Don't give the office drudge an excuse to take a cursory look at the amount of text on the page before disposing of your letter in the nearest bin.

I don't think the dark subject matter will be a problem if handled sympathetically. Your proposal has a lot going for it commercially. The #metoo movement has gained momentum recently and publishers are always on the look-out for material that touches a nerve in contemporary society - bearing in mind that it can take 18 months between signing a contract and seeing your book on sale. That's where self-publishing scores so highly - you can complete your novel one day and have it for sale on Amazon and Kindle within 48 hours.

A couple of other pointers. It's convention to capitalise the title of your book and the names of your main characters. That way it's easier for the recipient to keep track of your sales pitch. When it comes to including a plot outline, brevity is key. You need to show the publisher you can write clearly and concisely. This usually means a short introduction explaining who you are and your credentials as a writer/commentator/etc. followed by three separate paragraphs encapsulating the plot arc in a nutshell. Finally, you can mention other writers whose work is similar - but I'd be wary of allowing any personal agenda to take over at this stage in the process. There's plenty of time for them to get to know you after you sign the dotted line.

Something along these lines maybe?

Quote
HIGH SOCIETY is the tale of ELSA, a talented and ambitious student raised on a secluded farm in the Kenyan highlands. Taking her first steps in the wider world, despite her political savvy she becomes too easily flattered by the attentions of an older guy RICHARD, who offers her an apprenticeship. But her mentor is not all he appears to be.

ELSA's best friend SARA has endured a much harsher start in life. Her mother, left to bring up SARA single-handedly, is bipolar and religiously fundamental. When ELSA introduces SARA to RICHARD and invites her to join their exciting new network, the vulnerable young girl also falls under his spell.

At just under 65 000 words and narrated through alternating perspectives of girls and women caught up in the enterprise, the novel sheds light on abusive societal structures protecting powerful men. It navigates topics such as self-destruction, organized crime, gender-based violence and sex work and seeks to encourage debate regarding free will and personal responsibility.

Much like novels and stories written by Mary Gaitskill, HIGH SOCIETY combines the raw intensity of Kate E. Russelís My Dark Vanessa with the hypnotic friendship dynamic in Julie Buntinís Marlena. It also draws on the power relations and the glamorous detachment manifesting itself in the Netflix drama series Baby. Dealing explicitly with sexual assault and its emotional consequences, I feel it is a timely novel, impossible to have realized without the collective wisdom women brought forward in the #metoo movement.

I would be delighted to send a sample or full manuscript at your request. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Feel free to ignore - but I wish you every success with your endeavour.

Offline jessywrites

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Re: Query Letter - Dark Coming of Age
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2020, 08:43:30 AM »
Thank you, I love your feedback! Writing the query has been such a challenge, I feel like it takes an outsider's perspective.