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Distinguished Correspondent
Shopaholic
Posts: 176
Registered: ‎10-13-2010
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Revised Query - Please Comment

After taking all of the very helpful suggestions I got from you guys into consideration, I have revised my query letter and was hoping to get some feedback on it once again.  I have a list of about 10 agents that I am going to query in the very near future, and I want my letter to be as polished as possible.  Like I said before, I have been going through this process for a while now, and I am trying to revamp my letter so it will get noticed by an agent and hopefully not disappear into the dreaded slush pile or just get deleted after the agent reads the first paragraph.  Of course there will be salutations and contact info, but I left those out for this post.  Thanks in advance for any and all comments!:smileyhappy:


 

Seventeen, pregnant, and on her own.  This is the position that recent high school graduate Willow Ryan finds herself in during the summer of 1986.  Not wanting to disappoint her family or ruin the father’s life, Willow leaves Indiana for charming Santa Elena, California, determined to raise her child on her own without telling a soul back home.  She lands a job working for Peggy Maguire, a former Southern Belle with a knack for finding trouble - and humor - in the most unlikely places. Willow’s new neighbor, a friendly surfer dude named Denny, quickly becomes someone she can count on for anything, but could there be more to their relationship than Willow sees?  Get ready to laugh out loud and a shed a tear or two as Secrets takes you on a journey that begins with an independent young woman trying her best to hide the truth, and ends with a pivotal event that turns her world upside down, forcing all of Willow’s secrets to come to light.

 

Using my own unique style and voice, Secrets could be described as a dash of Kristin Hannah’s sincere emotion and a pinch of Meg Cabot’s humor, combined with the welcoming tone of a Robin Jones Gunn novel, where the characters seem like old friends stopping by with an invitation to a beach party or to offer a much needed hug.  I chose to write this book because Willow’s character has a story to tell, and many women will relate to her as she gives all she has to create the best possible life for her child.

 

I read in Guide to Literary Agents that you specialize in representing new authors, and I hope you will consider reviewing my 99,000 word novel, Secrets.  It is women’s fiction geared toward the twenty to thirty-something crowd.

 

This is a simultaneous submission, and my completed manuscript is ready to be sent at your request.  While Secrets can definitely stand on its own, it is also the first novel in a series.  I have completed the next three books and have plans for a fifth Willow Ryan novel as well.  I have enclosed the first ten pages of Secrets for you to read as stated on your website.  Thank you so much for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

 


"You found the bandages inside the pen/ And the stitches on the radio." - Gaslight Anthem

Follow my blog at http://willowwriter.blogspot.com
Distinguished Correspondent
Dan_Diego
Posts: 76
Registered: ‎09-17-2010
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Re: Revised Query - Please Comment

Couple of mentions:

 

Second sentence, recommend simplifying to read, "This is how Willow Ryan finds herself ..."

 

Please flag the Salutation, reference to Literary Guide, manuscript terms, and first ten pages as variables that must be managed with simultaneous submissions. In other words, the references you make in your query letter for one agent/publisher may not apply to another. Make sense?

 

I think it's time to get the letter out there.

Distinguished Correspondent
Shopaholic
Posts: 176
Registered: ‎10-13-2010
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Re: Revised Query - Please Comment

Thanks again for your comments, Dan. I was struggling with the sentence you mentioned and I really like your simplified version. I think I'll use it! And yes, the part about the first ten pages, the literary guide, etc. is specific to an agent I am querying, and I personalize each letter with the appropriate info. Okay, tomorrow I will start sending these letters out. Feeling a familiar mix of excitement, terror, and nausea, ha ha. Thanks again for the help Dan!
"You found the bandages inside the pen/ And the stitches on the radio." - Gaslight Anthem

Follow my blog at http://willowwriter.blogspot.com
Inspired Correspondent
racheling
Posts: 68
Registered: ‎08-30-2010
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Re: Revised Query - Please Comment

I think you could use more about the book and what happens. What does Willow want and what is preventing her from getting it? Specific details are good. You don't have to give away the ending, but personally if I read this on the back cover of a book I wouldn't really know what the book is about. If it's a slice of life sort of novel, that is fine, but things still happen and the character still faces tough obstacles. It just feels very vague to me.

 

It is also a pet peeve of many agents to be told how they will feel as they are reading--instead, they just want you to show them in the work, and give them hints of that in the query by telling them about what happens.

 

I think your paragraph where you compare it to other books could be shortened to a sentence like: Secrets will appeal to fans of ____ and _____.

 

Good luck. :smileyhappy:

Distinguished Correspondent
Shopaholic
Posts: 176
Registered: ‎10-13-2010
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Re: Revised Query - Please Comment

Hi Racheling,

 

Thanks for your help!  I completely agree with what you said about agents not wanting to be told how to feel, and I had to reread my query to see where I was doing that, because I didn't even realize I had made that mistake!  I got sidetracked and hadn't sent this query off yet, so I'm glad I read your post first.  I made some changes using your suggestions and now I finally feel like I'm ready.  This is my strongest letter to date, and I'm hoping to have some good luck this time around.

 

Thanks again for your feedback!

 

Shannon

"You found the bandages inside the pen/ And the stitches on the radio." - Gaslight Anthem

Follow my blog at http://willowwriter.blogspot.com