This is not my problem with the query letter, but Scott Eagan from Greyhaus Literary Agency has some good advice about query letters. His blog post “Query Writing Troubles? It Might Be The Story, NOT The Query” deals with the problem I’m sure every writer has had. The query would be fine if the novel wasn’t a writing disaster. (The blog post can be found here http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2011/02/query-writing-troubles-it-might-be.html.)
After reading that post Wednesday I thought long and hard about my novel that needs a query letter.
Are my characters someone I’d want to know more about? Yep! I must admit I would love to know more about my characters. The characters intrigue me beyond belief.
Do they have problems? I’d say that has been covered. Poor Alexandria has her share of problems. She’s a foster child. She thinks she has been forced to undercover with the ATF due to a corrupt agent. Alexandria finds herself loving her “family” again. Yet, there is that little corrupt agent who is manipulating Alexandria issue. Oh, and the whole question about white supremacy that Alexandria must answer for herself. And she’s sixteen going on thirty. And that’s just book one in the series.
Do I think my story is unique? Well, if I didn’t I wouldn’t try to get the thing published. I’m not sure how you hope to get published without a unique idea.
Do I think there is a “high concept?” I think I answered this yesterday. Nope, it’s not a high concept novel. Just a nice little family saga.
Have I had books where I went “Okay, that sucks and will never see the light of day?” Show me a writer who has never written a bad book and I’ll introduce you to a liar. Every writer has at least one dud that they swear they will fix one day. I have a few of those lovely duds sitting on a hard drive or in journals waiting for me. I promise myself I will redeem myself by fixing the
I answered all the stories about my novel right. At least, I think I am answering truthfully that the novels have something to share with the world. So, no problem with the manuscript.
Then why do I have such an issue with my query letter?! Oh, yeah, that whole “elevator pitch” “250 words or less” “Don’t forget to get me hooked on the novel before you go!” “Tell me about yourself and your book in those 250 words.” That’s why!