Changes in the Query Letter & Genre

As we all know, one little rejection makes me wanna redo my query letter.  More than one?  Whip up one in case I need it.  Seven form rejections?  Time to change things around!

First things first, revision to the manuscript.  Can I cut anything to get it under 80,000 words?  After all, the manuscript is at 80,889 words.  Can I cut about 2,000 words?  I quickly found a few things I wasn’t sure I needed.  Yay!  Under that lovely 80,000 word ceiling in a few quick strokes.  Now it’s around 77,000 words.  (Amazing what cutting a chapter does.)  It seems more books are selling currently between 70,000-79,000 words.  Last September that number was 75,000-82,000 words.  Fixing that should help get an agent or two.

Secondly, it’s time to change things up on the genre.  Family Saga, which I really think this series is all about, is dying.  Okay, it’s dead.  But, commercial fiction just happens to be a catchall genre.  Yep, time to change.  The good news about this change is that the number of agents to annoy goes up from 41 agents to a gazillion agents.  Alright, not really a gazillion, but if you look at just those agents accepting queries that are open to commercial fiction that’s 398 agents according to Query Tracker.  I’m also looking for an agent that does crime sagas, since my novels are about a criminal family.  The thought is that if an agent reps both genres they might be more willing to look at my novel.

(Think The Godfather: Part Two, the book not the movie.  If you’ve read the book you know Sonny Corleone’s twin daughters play a major part in the book; especially the daughter who gets married.  Her thoughts on her family and her actions stuck with me more than anything else in that book.)

Thirdly, I rewrote the query letter.  Yep, couldn’t see that coming, could you?  I’m debating waiting another couple of weeks before I send this query letter out.  Send out one last round of Letter A and then I’ll send out a revised version of Letter C.  Internal debates are so much fun.

Seven rejections aren’t horrible, but I’m gonna say that Letter A has minor issues if no one nibbles on my hook.  I mean, all of the rejections are from Letter A, except one from Letter B.  But there wasn’t much of a difference between Letter A and Letter B.  (You can see the letters here.)  Yep, time for some changes.

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2 thoughts on “Changes in the Query Letter & Genre

  1. Always hard to cut, isn’t it? But leaner is better. I didn’t realize the Family Saga was dying – speaking of family saga, did you ever read “The Thorn Birds”? I loved that book when I was in my early teens…anyway, don’t give up!

    • Extremely hard, since one of the chapters was from the original draft. Oh well, the chapter will be used at a latter date. I think I can rework it for one of the other books.

      Vampires. Everyone wants vampires. The Twilight Series took off and every agent in the world suddenly jumped on the vampire bandwagon. You should hear my husband complain about bandwagons in publishing. The other big bandwagon is Young Adult. Everyone wants YA authors because of crossover appeal. I’ll stick with adult fiction and try to con everyone that my family saga is really commercial fiction.

      I read “The Thorn Birds” back as a teen. It was a good book.

      I promise I won’t give up.

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