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The Urge: Query

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  #1  
Old 10-25-2008, 05:48 AM
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Default The Urge: Query


Here is the query for my first novel, The Urge. I've sent it to twenty-something agents (all rejected!). What do you guys think? Any thoughts to improve it? Make it a bit more proffessional? Any and all help is greatly appreciated!


Dear Ms. Faye Bender



I have read that your agency is actively seeking young adult fiction for representation. It is my hope that you find my YA novel, The Urge, as something fitting to your agency. It is about a young woman battling her nightmarish and at times obsessive/compulsive transition into adulthood, in the vein of novels you’ve had success with such as Deborah Davis’ Not Like You or Emily Franklin’s The Other Half of Me.

Noelle Brice knows that she could be a “professional worrier”. She has always been prone to fretting deeply over every possible outcome, especially when it comes to things like her brilliant idea (or moment of temporary insanity) to audition for the school musical senior year. Despite an ugly case of stage fright she snags the lead, along with the attention of the gorgeous, oddly silent, new guy—who happens to make a great vampire in the play. But there's a secret Noelle has to hide—from her intriguing co-star and everyone else. The bizarre, repetitive counting rituals Noelle’s done since childhood shift into overdrive as she struggles with her parents’ mysterious divorce, a grueling academic schedule, and nerve-wrecking rehearsals. She considers reaching out for help. But her newly engaged mother doesn’t listen, and her reclusive father hides in his office behind a bottomless glass of bourbon. When morbid images of her father committing suicide start haunting Noelle's thoughts and dreams, she decides it's best to protect him and deal with her own problems, even to the point of sickness. Even to the point of losing the guy she’s fallen so hard for.

I have had several short stories published in the literary journals NKU Expressed and The Licking River Review. Most recently, my short story, Burnt Offering, won 8th place of 25 in the Writer's Digest annual Short Short Stories Competition. With my research and personal experience in the world of teen anxiety disorders, I feel I have a story young people can relate to regarding the havoc emotional struggle brings to relationships and attempted romance.

The Urge is 74,000 words, and ready to send upon request. I thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Holly Current

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Old 10-25-2008, 10:36 AM
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From the information I've gotten from a reliable source, your letter seems to contain everything a query needs:

1) It's no longer than a single page
2) I'm assuming you'll include personal information before the salutation (not here, obviously)
3) The title of your book and the genre you're aiming for
4) An overview of the book
5) Brief bio/credentials

The only thing I can suggest is shortening the overview of the book. Perhaps it's still too long? Get directly to the main essence of the story and sum it up more quickly than you presently have? Tighten the writing overall?

I've heard that agents are busy people who get tons of query letters a week. They want to read something at a glance, something that hooks their interest so they can make a quick decision as to whether or not they want to contact you with their interest in your story.

I don't know, though. Perhaps someone else has a better insight/suggestion?
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Old 10-26-2008, 10:54 AM
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Default Approaching Publishers

The letter was formal in places and rather forward in addressing the publisher by her first name, not sure if this would go down well, perhaps caution is better in your first letter.

I would follow this up with a regarding heading like this:

Re: A Romantic Novel by Athur Writer B.Sc. hons. Camb.
Alternative Title Here (if you have one, I think it always helps)

I undertsand you are looking for romantic novel, I am hoping you may have an interest in my current novel. Please find enclosed sheets:

1. A summary
2. A sample page (not more than 400 words)
3. My internet blog: http;// a wonderful blog that deserves publishing.

Hoping very much to hear from you.

Yours faithfully

An Author
Tel:
Fax:
E-mail:
Mobile:

I found your letter far too detailed, if she want's romantic novels she will read your blog, look at you picture, read you C.V. If she likes your writing style from the sample page you sent her she will comunicate. Publishers are busy people, make it brief with the option to carry on reading or for them to discard. Leave plenty of ways for them to contact you. A sectrtarty may then get in touch to say she liked your work but it's not their style or whatever. Never send a manuscript without asking if the want it.

Don't use abreviations unless they are in the public domain, she may not know what YA means, I guessed it's: Young Author.

That's my idea, aslo try and asertain exactly her marital status, some women don't like MS., they like Miss or Mrs.

Hope you like, if not discard.


Ieuan

Last edited by El Rons; 10-26-2008 at 02:00 PM..
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Old 10-26-2008, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by IeuanSant View Post
I undertsand you are looking for romantic novel, I am hoping you may have an interest in my currant novel.

Ieuan
Heehee. I bet it's tasty.
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Old 10-26-2008, 12:34 PM
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Never ever compare your book to another one. If they did not like that book it is possible they will not like yours. Not everybody likes Harry Potter.

In your query it is important to put the beginning, the middle and the end of your novel. It is vital that the agent or editor you send it to know the whole story behind the novel. It is not them that needs to be surprised, it is the reader.

For the rest it looks good.
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Old 10-27-2008, 02:42 AM
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Thanks everyone! I did compare my book to other Young Adult books that this agency published. I didn't do this in every query I sent out, just the ones that seemed to go for that sort of thing. I research the agency and then adjust query accordingly. In Writer's Market, some agencies want to know what you're book may be comparible to, some do not. As for length or my overveiw, I think Devon may be right and I can cut it down.

Oh, and I'm still not to sure about YA/young adult. YA is used by the agencies that publish them all the time, so I was thinking they probably know what it is. I'm not sure. Maybe it is too informal. Thanks again!
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Old 10-28-2008, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by BreezyWriter View Post
Never ever compare your book to another one. If they did not like that book it is possible they will not like yours. Not everybody likes Harry Potter.
Utter rubbish. If your book will appeal to readers of Harry Potter, bloody well say so. Agents need to know who will buy the book. If your book is similar to others that the agent handles, so much the better, it shows that you're targeting your query properly.
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Old 10-28-2008, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by BreezyWriter
Never ever compare your book to another one. If they did not like that book it is possible they will not like yours. Not everybody likes Harry Potter.
Utter rubbish. If your book will appeal to readers of Harry Potter, bloody well say so. Agents need to know who will buy the book. If your book is similar to others that the agent handles, so much the better, it shows that you're targeting your query properly.
Perhaps she was referencing to the fact if you stated, My writing will appeal because it is similar to Harry Potter, rather than My writing will appeal to those who enjoy Harry Potter because of its similarities, etc?
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Old 10-28-2008, 04:45 AM
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Pointless speculating on what breezy may or may not have meant, when the advice given was "Never ever" and was completely wrong.

What the OP actually said in her query was:

Originally Posted by singphantom7 View Post
It is about a young woman battling her nightmarish and at times obsessive/compulsive transition into adulthood, in the vein of novels you’ve had success with such as Deborah Davis’ Not Like You or Emily Franklin’s [I]The Other Half of Me.
which is spot-on.
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Old 10-28-2008, 06:26 AM
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I agree with Mike. If they've sold a similar book before, they know there's already an existing market for it. I don't have as much experience with novels as I do with screenplays, but when pitching a screenplay, if applicable, it's usually a good idea to compare it to films that grossed quite a bit of money.

You've got remember that this is a business first.
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Old 10-29-2008, 06:56 PM
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I only gave the same advice that I received. The reason being, I did the same thing as singphantom7. Funny how you guys seem to have the same reaction I had. One thing is for certain That book I did it with is still on the shelf. Moreover, the other book is with an agent. I guess its kind of a -- to each his own -- situation.
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:10 AM
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Well...I've both campared it to other novels and not compared it. Neither works for me (:
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:36 AM
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Publishers expect perfection in query letters. Not only does the letter give them information on what you have and why you are capable, but it gives a sample of your writing style. There should be absolutely no spelling or grammar errors in the query letter. Most publishers expect your query letter to be as much, if not more, error free than the actual manuscript, and many publishers throw out a query letter at the first error.

Condense this sample query and write it as you would to your readers. Also, like others suggested, make sure the publisher knows why your manuscipt is the best of the best.

This sentence in the second paragraph is a fragment:
"Even to the point of losing the guy she’s fallen so hard for. "

Good luck.

-Kate
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