Query Critique #4
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: May 24 2007
I am a regular reader of your blog and am impressed by your knowledge of the industry and willingness to give struggling writers great advice. Thus, I would like you to consider my completed contemporary romance manuscript, HIDE AND SEEK, for representation.
Flattery can in fact get you everywhere. It helps to give a little information about why this agent has impressed you enough for you to query her. Well, it works for me anyway.
Set in my hometown of Orlando, Florida, HIDE AND SEEK, at 95,000 words, is the story of three women struggling with destructive secrets, past and present. Each woman appears to have a perfect life. Yet none does.
I would delete the setting altogether. Get to the point, the hook. Start with “A story of three women struggling with secrets that could destroy their seemingly perfect lives. . . .” See how much stronger that is?
Lindy is hiding emotional scars from a brutal attack, scars that threaten to destroy the man she’s fallen in love with. Mila discovers that her perfect husband is having several affairs—with men. When one of his lovers murders him, she is forced to examine her shallow life. Devon’s boyfriend Steve has fathered a secret child during an affair. That child is now ill and needs part of his liver. Rather than face the problems of her current relationship, Devon falls into the arms of another man and adds more complications to her already messy life.
Are these three different books? I’m not sure the secrets themselves are the story. I think the story is really how these women come together. In this case I need your paragraph to talk in more general terms about what brings these women together. So far what you have are three common women’s fiction plots. What makes your book different? And I still don’t know what this book is about. It feels like it’s a collection of short stories, but is it just about their problems?
I am a full-time writer with a degree in Journalism with an English minor . . .
I’d skip degrees. Unless you’re applying for your first job out of college, what people really care about is experience, not education.
. . . and am a PAN member of the Romance Writers of America and president of my local chapter. I regularly teach writing workshops at local libraries. My first print novel, THE KITTEN CLUB, a contemporary romance, was released in May (with who?). I have six other titles that have been electronically released by The Wild Rose Press and Aspen Mountain Press. Please find attached the first 50 pages of HIDE AND SEEK and a synopsis. I would be happy to send you the full. I look forward to working with you and your Agency. Thank you for your time and consideration.
“Please find” is awkward. Wouldn’t it be stronger to just say, “Attached you will find . . .”? And don’t bother thanking me. This is a sales pitch. End it with: I’m looking forward to hearing from you, or something similar. Keep wowing me, don’t grovel.