Jun 2, 2009

Query letter for Wesley Grey

To editor/agent at ***:

I am seeking publication for my 20,000-word novella, Wesley Grey.

Up until tonight Wesley Grey was a vampire escort, but after killing his latest client and finding the love of his life, Wesley has decided to turn in the towel. The problem with that is, his last client isn’t dead, and she’s biting up a horde of trouble for the vampires of Florence West Virginia.

Wesley Grey is a paranormal erotica story set in a fictional town in West Virginia. The villain is a Hive vampire, a type of vampire that functions under the hive mentality.

I have one previous publishing credit with Concord University’s publication, Reflexes. I would like to publish Wesley Grey under the pen-name Lawrence E. Wilcox.

Thank you for your time, and I hope that you enjoy Wesley Grey.


Ryan M. Smith


Anonymous said...

If your genre is erotica, you need to SHOW that the story is erotic, not simply label it.

The idea of a vampire escort is an intriguing hook (no pun intended), but the story seems to start when he gives up the life of an escort. In essence, you're abandoning the sexual premise in the first scene, where presumably he "kills" his client and meets a new person. You don't mention the sexual aspect of his new relationship.

Bottom line: for erotica, focus on the sexual premise, with the suspense aspects (the undead ex-client) more in the background. And get a little deeper into the protagonist's head, without the distancing phrases (referring to the story and the villain, instead of showing how the story unfolds and the villain interacts with the protagonist).

Bane of Anubis said...

The story seems too short for most agents to offer representation - I'd either lengthen it or shorten it and submit it to spec fic magazines.

Also, the part about Wes being a Hive vampire is a non sequitur - it also doesn't add anything (either expand on why this is relevant or eliminate it). You might hold off on the part about the pen-name until a later stage, but I'm not sure if there's a standard for this - just seems a bit early for me.

Finally, try to write more actively (i.e., rework sentences to eliminate was, is, has, etc. - doesn't have to be all of them, but you want to usually limit them)

wv: worth - as in, for what it's

Laura Martone said...

I find myself agreeing with Bane (as usual)... a novella will be a difficult sell for an agent (unless you have more than one that, together, would equal a standard novel length - 75k?). Also, the request for a pen name seems early, too - that's something to discuss with an interested agent at a later date (perhaps right before signing with him/her).

IMO, you should start the query with the hook, and put the title and word count after the story's description. Your sign-off is polite - but I agree with Anon - if this is erotica, you have to SHOW it's erotica.

Good luck! (I like the idea of a vamp escort in West Virginia!)

folksinmt said...

This has interesting elements, but is a little scattered. I don't feel sympathy for your mc.

A couple other things: throw in the towel is cliche (and has nothing to do with vampires! Could you say something like hang up his teeth?)
The second sentence doesn't flow well. Maybe you could do a : instead of a , .

Good luck!

Laura Martone said...

Haha, "hang up his teeth" - I love it, folksinmt! Very clever.

Eden said...

I agree w/ the advice above, particularly about the erotic aspect. Additionally I'm intrigued by the setting in Florence, WV -- not exactly a place where a vampire can blend in... or is it? Or is it a hotbed of erotic activity? I assume the setting comes into play somehow but I don't have a sense of that. You have a lot of wiggle room in this query to add more detail and that's a detail that could be flashed out easily in a line or half a line.

I agree with what was said about the length. You may be able to go directly to a publisher (Ellora's Cave sprung to mind when I read this) or an anthology. Or consider beefing it up, if that's possible, to about 3x the current length.

I also don't think you need to necessarily mention a pen name at this point unless you've previously published under it. My suggestion in that case would be to use it in your signature (example: Ryan M. Smith, writing as Lawrence E. Wilcox).

Best of luck with this. I hope you send PQS a revised version; I'd like to learn more about the story.