Saturday, August 7, 2010

Feedback on My Query Letter?

I've got too many rejection letters. For novel 15, I'm asking for any suggestions you might have. --Thanks.

Send me a note

Dear Ms. Agent

Caitlin Janecek is a garden variety, smart-mouthed, self-centered teen who happens to be a privileged member of a secret society she has no interest in. Cait's junior essay points out that lack of appreciation, and places her under scrutiny. Interning for the Queen of the kith isn't in her plans. Instead of spending the summer on the beach, she ends up on the night shift, wearing an armored vest, toting a nine millimeter, crisscrossing the nation in a private jet, threatening vampires, and noshing Nerd candies with a quirky twelve-year-old who appears to know all thirteen-million members of the kith.

REVENIR INTERN (79,000 words) is a YA paranormal, thriller. Renee, a five-thousand-year-old immortal, leads her kith in a war against rogue Revenir clans, and humans determined to exterminate what they believe is an insidious sect controlled by vampires. First indifferent to the conflict, it becomes grittily personal for Cait. She escapes an ambush with her twelve-year-old sidekick; gets tagged as The Inquisitor for her empathetic questioning of three combatants; brings a Revenir with a death warrant on his head back into the kith after saving his life; foils one attack, pursues and leads kithmen in a counter-attack; leads an investigation in the abduction of her roommate; survives her own capture in a trap designed to lure her Queen to her death, bringing one front of the kith's war to an end. Cait learns of the love and peace her kith brothers, and her Queen, fight for, while contributing and enduring more than she expects.

I'm a fulltime writer, with fifteen completed manuscripts in paranormal, mainstream, science fiction, and fantasy genres. Please consider representing me.

Thank you your time and consideration.
Sincerely,

R. Mac Wheeler
contact info here
http://home.roadrunner.com/~macwheeler/  http://rmacwheeler.blogspot.com/

5 comments:

  1. It reads a little too complicated for me. I feel like I'm being pulled in several directions.

    The easiest way to write a query is to introduce the main character(s) and state the overarching conflict. What is important about this story? Why should the agent (as the first reader) care?

    I also wouldn't mention the other manuscripts unless they're already sold.

    Hope that helps.

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  2. The first paragraph is great.

    Move the "Revenir Intern is a YA..." sentence to either the top or bottom. Either lead with it or close with it. Never in the middle. It takes away from the story.

    Here's where it gets tricky. In the second paragraph there is just too much. I would break this up into smaller pieces and get rid of two thirds of what Cait does.


    The first sentence in the second paragraph -- "Renee, a five thousand year..." is fine. The next sentence -- "Cait's essay draws..." either has to move up to the first paragraph somewhere or be removed. It makes no sense where it is.

    After that, you need to clearly define what's at stake for Cait. There's too much going on and nothing seems like it's a really big deal. Sure she's fighting vampires, sure she gets tagged, sure she leads an investigation, BUT there's nothing about her internal conflict. Cait learns what her kith brothers and her Queen stand for but WHAT is it?

    I think you would be better served to write a 3rd paragraph which mentions the battle itself, but then also say WHY she's doing this.

    It's an interesting concept and I'm sure an equally interesting read.

    I also wouldn't mention anything about 15 novels unless they're pubbed. I also wouldn't say, consider representing me. I would say, "I would be delighted to send you the first three chapters and synopsis for your consideration."

    Hope this helps.

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  3. Hi Mac,
    Here are some pointers. You can find the complete version in my blog ;) under archives June 14th.

    First paragraph should introduce you and your book -- the title, projected word length, whether or not it is completed (or how far along it is), type of book and which line it is aimed for.

    The second paragraph is the most important --it must summarize your book in just a few sentences,

    The third paragraph is about you --your writing experience and credentials, prior publishing history, if any (of any kind, including articles, poetry, stories); professional memberships; any other relevant information -- expertise that helped you write this book, for instance, or another career...

    Don’t confuse "sales tool" with "sales pitch." This is not the time to say how great your book is or how endearing your characters are -- that's for the editor to decide. Be straightforward.

    Don’t tease by not revealing the facts of the story, hoping to entice the editor's curiosity.

    Last, thank the editor and express your hope for a prompt reply.

    Hope this helps a bit, Mac.
    Good luck!

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  4. This is long so i had to break it up...

    first questions first, i assume you're getting rejections off the query and not the manuscript, correct?

    I love the first paragraph. It has great fun voice. Even so, i would cut it down a bit. It's a bit wordy with quite a bit of description. If it were me, i'd cut and tighten, maybe something more like:

    "Caitlin Janecek is a smart-mouthed, self-centered teen who happens to be a privileged member of a secret society she has no interest in. Instead of spending the summer on the beach, she ends up on the night shift, toting a nine millimeter, threatening vampires, and noshing Nerd candies with a quirky twelve-year-old who appears to know all thirteen-million members of the kith"

    Also i feel there's a bit of a disconnect - i'm not sure what the secret society has to do with the vampire hunting, and i'm not sure what the deal is with the Kith.
    But, that's an easy fix:

    "Caitlin Janecek is a smart-mouthed, self-centered teen who happens to be a privileged member of a secret society. And though the society has a goal of irradicating the undead, her resonsibilites interfere with her plans to hit the beach. What a drag."

    Not that i know if any of that makes any sense with your novel, but that should hopefully give you an idea of how you can explain what the secret society does in a few words or less.


    I agree with Piedmont (which i typically do regarding queries) and move the novel title. I prefer it at the bottom, especially for equeries, but that's just my personal preference.

    There's a lot going on in the second paragraph and it leaves me a bit confused.

    "Renee, a five-thousand-year-old immortal, leads a kith at war with rogue Revenir clans, and humans determined to exterminate what they believe is an insidious sect controlled by vampires."

    This sentence leads me scratching my head. i think it's the "leads a kith at war with rogue revenir clans ..."

    Does this mean that Renee leads the Kith in a war against the revenir AND the humans? I guess i'm just confused by the kith, the revenir and the humans and what each area plays in the war (and weather any of them are the same thing)

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  5. cont...

    Cait's essay draws attention to her lack of appreciation for the kith, thrusts her into the gore of the conflict.

    this one is confusing too, when/why did she have to write an essay? that's an easy fix. Also i still am a bit confused about who the kith are - her secret society? the bad guys? i think i need this cleared up before this part (prefferably in the opening paragraph or the first sentence of the second paragraph)


    First indifferent, the battle becomes personal, and Cait perseveres (need to add "through" here i believe) a series of crises. She escapes an ambush with her twelve-year-old sidekick; gets tagged as The Inquisitor for her empathetic questioning of three combatants; brings a Revenir with a death warrant on his head back into the kith after saving his life; foils one attack, pursues and leads kithmen in a counter-attack; leads an investigation in the abduction of her roommate; survives her own capture in a trap designed to lure her Queen to her death, bringing one front of the kith's war to an end. Cait learns what her kith brothers, and her Queen, stand for, while contributing and enduring more than she expects."

    All of this chunk is just a list of things that happen. I don't want this. It's ok to list one or two, but not so many.

    Also what's missing for me is Cait's conflict and goal. What does she want and what is preventing her from getting it? What does she need to overcome? What is her struggle?
    For me, that's the most important part of a query. something like:

    First indifferent, Cait perseveres through a series of crises including being tagged as The Inquisitor for the questioning of three combatants and bringing a Revenir with a death warrant on his head back into the kith.

    But things turn personal when her twelve year old sidekick is kidnapped. Cait has to make a decision, continue trying to live a normal life, or give up her dreams of beach lounging and embrace her kith heritage.

    Or whatever. Again it's just a fabricated example. The important thing is you need to set up her conflict and highlight that.

    I hope this helps!

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