Mar 14, 2009

QUERY- The Amazing Tale of Rudy Toot-Toot

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Dear Agent XYZ,

Please consider my 500 word picture book, THE AMAZING TALE OF RUDY TOOT-TOOT. This quirky comedy will make little boys giggle, but the laughs come with a lesson on manners. I chose to query you based on the interests listed in your bio on the 123 Literary Agency website.

Rudy Toot-Toot was born on a bean farm. He has an amazing gift - at least he thinks it is amazing – but I’ll tell you about that in a second. He also has an amazing problem: Rudy Toot-Toot does not know how to use any manners. His family tries to eat dinner, but can barely even get started because of Rudy’s antics. “Rudy Toot-Toot! How rude!” the family exclaims repeatedly, a fun phrase that kids can say, too. But then when Rudy starts eating his beans, his amazing gift takes over…and the family had better run for cover!

I have been writing professionally for business for the past eight years, including copywriting, press releases, and proposals. THE AMAZING TALE OF RUDY TOOT-TOOT is my first picture book manuscript, inspired by my own two sons.

Thank you for your time and consideration. The complete manuscript follows, per your submission guidelines.

Regards,

Rick Daley

13 comments:

storyqueen said...

Okay Rick,

The time is ripe (no pun intended) for your idea. It sounds like a gas!
(sorry...I promise no more.)

Anyway, I suggest you send it out quickly, I mean, they are making a movie of "Walter the Farting Dog!"
A book like yours will probably be snapped up.

Good Luck to you!

Shelley (the storyqueen and fellow former slushie)

Jan said...

I believe this query pretty much tells it all, and in very few words.
And I can definitely hear a wonderful voice.
It worked at catching my attention.

Rick Daley said...

I submitted to the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, they are the only one so far. Any suggestions for others?

Niki Schoenfeldt said...

HI Rick,

Why not send it to the folks who published WALTER THE FARTING DOG? They obviously publish that sort of thing and the worse they can say is no.

Rick Daley said...

Niki,

Good idea. I sent two queries out for Rudy this morning and received a rejection from one already, at least I know to cross that agent off the list and move on. I still have my first one out there.

I'm going to research Walter and give that a shot. You're right, there isn't anything to lose.

Rick Daley said...

OK, I tracked down Walter's publisher and this is listed in their submission guidelines:

"Quality children's picture books or chapter books (for instance on topics like vegetarianism or indigenous and developing-world lifestyles)--please no more books on bodily functions; Walter the Farting Dog was a one-trick-pony title for us"

Damn.

Alex said...

Rick,

You might want to do a search on AgentQuery.com for children's books. There are pages and pages of them.

Rick Daley said...

I've searched on AgentQuery and on QueryTracker. They have children's, but not picture books, and I think some agents look at them differently (more receptive to a beginning reader chapter book, less receptive to picture books).

Does anyone know if publishers accept direct submissions for picture books, rather than agented submissions only?

Davin Malasarn said...

Rick,
I really like the way you cover this story without actually saying what the book is about. Really, it comes off as bieng very clever and funny and I'm guess it sets off the tone of your book really well.

In general, the entire letter is efficient and provides a lot of information. The first paragraph feels a little awkward. The word "comedy" doesn't seem perfectly write to me, but is that how picture books are characterized? I like the phrase, "the laughs come with a lesson in manners". The "I chose to query you" feels clunky to me somehow. Maybe because the rest of it is particularly graceful and clever.

Rick Daley said...

Davin,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm not sure if a picture book would be referred to as a comedy or not, I can see why that would be out of place though. Good input.

You're right about the "I chose to query you" it does break the flow.

Thanks!

Sarah Garrigues said...

I personally do not mind the use of 'comedy,' but I know most agents/editors are not looking for picture books with lessons. It's okay that yours has one (ultimately most picture books do on some level), but I would not specifically advertise it in the query in case you are querying one of those agents that will automatically reject such a manuscript (see http://editorialanonymous.blogspot.com/2008/08/posting-possible-constructive-feedback.html ).

Next, the phrase 'but I'll tell you about that in a second' seems awkward to me, especially as I don't feel that you specifically do come back to it. Maybe I am more traditional, but I only directly address the agent in my opening and closing paragraphs.

I like the quote from the book, but 'a fun phrase that kids can say, too' is unneeded. The agent/editor will make such quality assessments (i.e., 'fun;' see http://editorialanonymous.blogspot.com/2008/11/query-clinic.html and http://editorialanonymous.blogspot.com/2007/07/question-of-query-letters.html ). On a similar note, I would recommend a title change, to remove 'amazing.' Consider 'Dinner with Rudy Toot-Toot' or 'Rudy goes Toot-Toot.' I like picture book titles with more action.

Overall, I like the concept and do feel the query has potential. I agree with Davin; one of its strengths is the absence of actually stating Rudy's problem. If you do revise, I would be interested in seeing what you come up with.

Rick Daley said...

Sarah,

Thank you, your feedback is awesome!

Sarah Garrigues said...

Thanks Rick. Perhaps you can return the favor with my newly posted query for 'HENRY HAS NO HAIR' (uploaded today, March 21)?

Also, as a fellow new blogger, I encourage you to check out my site, which includes several publishing 'how-to' posts.

http://sarahgarrigues.blogspot.com