Friday, December 16, 2011

On the Fourth Day of Querymas

my true Genn gave to me: one confused rocker, a sick girl, two switched witches, and a role-play game that turns deadly.

Dear Lovely and Talented Agent, - I address all my emails to Mollie this way...ok, not really, but I should.

I am looking for representation for my novel ABBY ROAD.  I know opinions on this vary and you should research every agent's preferences (for instance, many don't mind cold opens, or queries that open right into the synopsis, but some don't like them (if memory serves Ginger Clark and Jodi Reamer dislike cold opens).  Personally, I'd rather get to the query and even if you are avoiding a cold open, this isn't the way to go for one simple reason.  The agent assumes when you send a query letter you are seeking representation.  Don't waste your word count on something obvious.  If you want to avoid a cold open, you could place a personalized reason for querying the agent, i.e. "I see you represent Joe Schmoe.  I enjoyed his book TITLE, and I believe you will like my book, TITLE, a sci-fi novel about space invaders."  Or whatever.

Professionally, Abigail Kelly is a rockstar. But personally, she’s at the bottom of the charts. This is a good opener.  I'm interested.

More than anything, Abby wants balance, but her life is seriously out of whack. After her brother is tragically killed, Abby dives into her singing career, allowing the bright lights of Hollywood to block out her grief. When the band takes the summer off, Abby banishes herself to the secluded beaches of Florida—finally slowing down enough to deal with her demons. When she meets ex-Marine Todd, she begins to feel the balance she’s been desperate for. I've said this in other feedback, but here is place where we can show instead of tell.  How is Todd showing her balance?  For example, "When she starts surfing with Todd, an ex-marine eager to embrace life after war, she finds the balance her life is missing."  Give us some concrete details and action from the book.
Just as Abby is beginning to unclench My copy editor would totally ask "unclench what?"  so I will too.  It's awkward phrasing, Max, her sadistic manager who makes Simon Cowell look like an angel, demands that she gets her tail back to LA. Em dashes are tricky, avoid them in a query if not totally necessary. Under the pressure of the hot spotlight again, Abby’s grip on her new-found balance begins to shake. Torn between her love for Todd, and her loyalty to the guys in the band, she must find a way to confront her past, and take control of her present, or risk losing everything.
ABBY ROAD is a work of women’s fiction and is complete at 95,000 words. I think you could use some comparison titles here.
Thank you for your time.

I think this query is in good shape.  It shows me that you can write and that you can also whittle down a 95k novel effectively, which is no small feat.  I think with a touch more flavor, particularly in regard to her relationship with Todd, and a few small tweaks, that it's ready to go.  Best of luck!

PSA: You can keep sending queries.  I've gotten a few emails asking and that's fine.  I have WAY more than 12 at this point, but all the emails are in one big folder waiting to catch my eye.


  1. Great suggestions on the query. You're the second person who says to avoid em-dashes. I didn't realize that but am going to try not to use them.

  2. It's always good to hear tips about queries. I think the less text the better.