Apr 29, 2009

Query- Seven-Inch Vinyl -Revision 2

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.

In 1953, the whole world was waiting for an explosion.

Both The United States and the Soviet Union possessed a weapon that could blow the world to bits. But when the explosion finally did take place, it didn’t come from an Atom bomb - but in the birth of Rock and Roll music!

As young Joseph Rabinowitz, a New York teenager, trains in Kentucky for combat in the Korean Conflict he is introduced to a new brand of music called Rhythm & Blues. We’ll follow Joseph and a wealth of other fictional characters for sixteen years as the music evolves into something called Rock and Roll and changes the lives of generations of young men and women and with it the course of the nation and the world.

Joseph’s rise through the music business will take him from an employee in a record store in the Bronx, to the founder of an independent record company and on to a legendary songwriter and producer. When the British Invasion of musical artists cripples the American music scene, Joseph will lose it all and slip into quiet mediocrity until, in 1969, when he stages a triumphant re-union concert of artists heralding the beginning of the “oldies but goodies” era which still flourishes today.

My first novel SEVEN-INCH VINYL, transitions between real-life people and events as the music changes through the turbulent decade of the 1960’s. Racism, political unrest, war and assassination will unfold in this family saga of success and failure - triumph and tragedy.

My past writing experiences are all about the 50’s & 60’s music genre. They include two articles published in Peace Magazine, as well as two articles published in The Las Vegas Tribune and LaVoce monthly newspaper and one published in Golden Oldies Forever, a national specialized music periodical.

The completed 137,000 – word manuscript for SEVEN-INCH VINYL is available upon request. A SASE is included for your convenience. I thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.



hope101 said...

For what it's worth...

I've been thinking about this query, and I think the problem is that you are telling the story as if Rock and Roll is the protagonist, and not Joseph. Now either your book itself is structured that way--in which case you may have bigger issues than writing the query--or this letter does not accurately reflect your work.

Take us from the general to the specific. (And write the query in the present tense.) Joseph wants A, but antonist comes along and does B,so that he must prove his heroism by doing C, D or E.

Think of "Forest Gump". That movie overlaps much of the same era and cultural changes you are desribing, but it boils down to the story of one little boy who endures and triumphs because of his naivety and honesty. Without Forest, and the antagonist he must face at each step of the way--often "society"--that movie would have amounted to a recitation of dull history facts.

This is very crude, but will serve as an example:

When a soldier walks past his combat training class in 1953, Joseph R hears a sound that changes his life more completely than if the Atom bomb had been dropped: XXXX singing XXX. It's worth his split lip and the ire of his senior office, because he wants nothing more than to ___. But first he must come back alive from Korea, then ___, etc.

Does that help at all?

Rick Daley said...

Hope made some good points. Also consider the context of Almost Famous, the story of a young boy who has the opportunity to travel with a rock band as a journalist. The environment shapes the story, but the story is about the boy.

Dreamgirls is one that spans a long time, but it is still about the relationship between the sisters. there are sweeping sub-plots, like wit the Eddie Murphy character, and it is all about music, but the heart of the story and what sells it (and that's what a query is, a sales pitch) is the ups and downs of the relationship between the sisters.

I know these are movies, but the key is in how you sell the story.

And for what it's worth, this revisions are all improving. Still a little further to go, but getting better.

One final note (no pun intended ;-), you don't state the genre. Is this historical fiction, or literary fiction? Given the word count, historical fiction would be suitable, but that's your call as the author.

The links on the right side of the blog include one for AgentQuery.com's listing of genre descriptions.

Donald said...

Rick: In my next to last paragraph I state that the novel is a "family saga"...I think that qualifies as a genre and also makes the 137k word count appropriate. You agree?

Thanks to you and Hope both for the comments and advice...we'll keep on truckin.

Rick Daley said...


I think family saga describes it, but I haven't seen that used as a standard genre...what section of the bookstore will they put it in?

Or, think of it this way. If you went to buy your book at the bookstore, where would you go to look for it?

Music, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, etc.

Anyone else have any thought on this?

hope101 said...

I agree. There's no such genre as family saga. I think this would qualify as literary fiction. (My understanding is that historical fiction is usually not of such an epic nature. ie. one hero or heroine set in one time.)

hope101 said...

Ack! Guess I was talking out of the wrong side of my mouth. I have never heard of "Family Saga" as a genre before, but it is indeed listed on agentquery.com. Sorry about that, Donald.

Rick Daley said...

Son of a gun, there's fine print for you. I just read the bold titles, and Thriller/Suspense because that's where my novel falls. Many apologies!

I will also update your posted queries from Guess the Genre accordingly.

Tricia said...

I agree this sounds like the book is about music and not Joseph. Also to call it Family Saga, I would think a family would be mentioned.

It sounds more like an epic tale of a personal journey. Perhaps it may fall into Mainstream category.

Donald said...

Tricia hit the nail on the head!!! It is a story about the music AND Joseph and since his family name is Rabinowitz...I guess that's the family the saga is about...and yes it is also an epic tale of one man's journey.

BTW - Venture Literary has asked for the full manuscript!

hope101 said...

Go, Donald! I'm crossing my fingers for you.

Rick Daley said...


Congrats! I hope it leads to a contract.