We get a lot of queries that go something like this:
The Secret Life of Frankie P opens in present day Minneapolis with a damaged, but strong protagonist who sets out to turn her life around by joining a group of misfits like herself who are determined to assist victims of domestic abuse. By opening her suburban home to those in need she begins her new life, one where people pay handsomely to disappear. However, things go horribly wrong when she starts to question the group she’s joined. She suspects that things aren’t all that they seem and when one of the women she’s helped is found brutally murdered she looks to discover the truth. When she finally figures out what is going on the secrets are darker and more evil than anyone could ever imagine and knowing the truth might mean her death.
Here’s the problem. This query says absolutely nothing to me. I don’t know anything about the protagonist. She’s damaged and strong? That’s pretty much every single suspense protagonist. She wants to help victims of abuse and by helping she’s risked her life. Let’s face it. We’ve all read this book a million times before.
So what makes this book interesting? It’s probably in the part the author tried to downplay. What’s really interesting, what’s probably really the hook, are the secrets that she doesn’t seem to want to tell us. After all, isn’t that what this book is really about? The rest is just backstory.
Another picky thought question, is this how you’d describe the book to your best friend? In other words, would you use the word protagonist and tell us where it opens or where it’s set? Keep that in mind when pitching the book. How would you pitch to your best friend. It likely wouldn’t be using writerly terms.