Aug 3, 2009

Query- Intuitive Tarot: Finding Your Inner Voice

Hi everyone,
I just found out about this site! I received a response to this query from an agent who found it "intriguing" but wasn't "sufficiently enthusiastic" to ask for more. Not sure if that means the query is good but the subject not her cup of tea (which I'm okay with, not everyone is into self-help books) or if I need more work on the query. Feedback is welcome!

Dear [Agent],

I’ve just written a workbook that can help everyone lead more meaningful and fulfilling lives. After 22 years of in-depth study, practice, and teaching, I’ve put all that I’ve learned into an easy-to-use workbook, Intuitive Tarot: Finding Your Inner Voice. I would like you to consider helping me bring this work to the public.

We’ve all experienced those moments of not listening to our “inner voice”. When was the last time you ignored yours? Last week, perhaps? Driving home from work, stuck in traffic, something inside you said "turn off here" at a side road but you didn't so your 20 minute commute took 2 hours because of road construction? Later that evening, you heard on the local news that an alternate route would have gotten you home in 30 minutes; it was the road you would have turned onto had you listened to that inner "something".

We human beings are fascinating, aren't we? All we need to know is within us, if we would only listen. It's not that we don't want to, we just don't know how, or we don't trust what we hear. We've never been taught the means to connect with that vast library of knowledge within. Tarot cards are an incredible tool to help you learn to do just that.

You may not be entirely sure what tarot cards are. Perhaps you've seen television programs where a reader lays out the Death card and oh no! someone on the show dies, and now you're a bit leery of the cards. Intuitive Tarot: Finding Your Inner Voice will take the mystery out of tarot. This workbook is for everyone wanting to learn how to listen to, and trust, their inner voice; for everyone who wants to find a way to touch the source of their own inner power; for everyone who wants to learn how to navigate through the sometimes challenging transitions of life, and to do it all in a fun and enlightening way. Intuitive Tarot: Finding Your Inner Voice can be used alone, with friends, or as a classroom workbook by other teachers of tarot.

I purchased my first tarot deck in 1987. I had no teacher; there were few books at that time. I learned the hard way, by myself. Now, after twenty-two years, thousands of clients, hundreds of students, numerous published tarot articles, in the process of co-creating a "modernly traditional" tarot deck as well as writing the accompanying deck-specific book, and still as passionate about tarot as the day I purchased my first deck of cards, I am proud to offer Intuitive Tarot: Finding Your Inner Voice as a tool for every person who wants to learn to connect with, and trust, that place of knowing within.

Two people have seen Intuitive Tarot: Finding Your Inner Voice so far. One, an author and public speaker, said that reading the workbook made him want to immediately go out and buy a deck of tarot cards. The other, an author/shaman/music composer, told me, "I read through your tarot workbook chapters. I think they are fantastic and I don't know of another book like it!"

I invite you to visit my website to learn more about me and my work. I would be happy to send you a full proposal at your request.

I appreciate your time and consideration, and look forward to hearing from you soon.

4 comments:

ejalvey said...

I would suggest submitting this to Llewllyn Books. This is the sort of thing they publish: http://www.llewellyn.com/

The fifth paragraph down is largely a run-on sentence. I would revise that and perhaps mention where your articles were published if it was in a "credible" place.

I would also not mention the other project: the deck and accompanying book in a letter about this project. Perhaps instead concentrate on the marketing ideas. I would also not mention that only two people have seen it, but instead emphasize two of the people who have seen the book state...

good luck!

Suzan Harden said...

Hi!

Congratulations on putting together your ms! So few people actually complete such a project, so pat yourself on the back!

From the writing/business side, there's some things missing from your query.

1) You need to specify the type of book you're querying. I'm assuming since it's a workbook, it's non-fiction, but I've been led astray before.

2) Word Count.

3) You need a marketing hook and a target audience for a non-fiction query.

4) Also, it's best not to add other people's opinions in your query unless one of the agent's clients has specifically recommended you to the agent or it's someone like Silver Ravenwolf willing to plug you. Otherwise, the agent isn't going to care.

Agent Jessica Faust had a lovely blog post at the beginning of the year concerning what all needs to be in a non-fiction proposal. I strongly recommend it.
http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-is-book-proposal-for-nonfiction.html


As tarot practioner myself, I don't see anything in the posted query that would pop out at me as a consumer. Head over to your local mainstream bookstore or pagan/New Age shop (a lot of these carry tarot books and cards). How can you make your book stand out from the ones on the shelves now? Then specify it in the revised query.

Best wishes on your project!

L. T. Host said...

I should preface this by saying I have no experience with self-help OR tarot, so I'm trying to stay neutral in format and only help you with the "business" aspects I understand from fiction queries. Hope you find something helpful in here-- my comments in bold.

I’ve just written a workbook that can help everyone lead more meaningful and fulfilling lives. This sounds presumptive. Good creds next though, I would just start here: After 22 years of in-depth study, practice, and teaching, I’ve put all that I’ve learned.

I would like you to consider helping me bring this work to the public. I'm not a fan of these kind of statements. The agent knows that's why you're writing. Stick to the book subject.

... road but you didn't so your 20 minute commute took 2 hours because of road construction? Rhetorical questions are tricky in queries. Most agents don't like them. This is a good paragraph, and I can see myself getting intrigued, but the rhetorical questions bring me back out. Ask yourself this every time you consider using one: what if the agent says no in their head? The answer is, they drop your query. Try to convince them to read on, not give them an excuse to put it away. Re-word the rhetoricals to be statements.

Later that evening, you heard on the local news that an alternate route would have gotten you home in 30 minutes; it was the road you would have turned onto had you listened to that inner "something". This phrasing sounds awkward. I feel like you need to re-work this entire paragraph to make it flow better.

We human beings are fascinating, aren't we? Another rhetorical.

You may not be entirely sure what tarot cards are. I would honestly move this up higher. If an agent doesn't know what tarot cards are, they are not going to read this far to find out. Perhaps you've seen television programs where a reader lays out the Death card and oh no! someone on the show dies, and now you're a bit leery of the cards. This sentence feels heavy-handed. See if you can simplify it for accuracy; an agent will want to see a solid grasp of grammar in your query before they'll pick up your MS.
... Intuitive Tarot: Finding Your Inner Voice can be used alone, with friends, or as a classroom workbook by other teachers of tarot. This last bit sounds more like cover copy or an Amazon review; which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but in your query you only need to use the title once, when you introduce your MS. (Ex.: INTUITIVE TAROT: FINDING YOUR INNER VOICE is a 40,000 word self-help workbook focusing on the benefits of etc.)

I learned the hard way, by myself. Sounds self-defeating. Never seem morose or bitter in a query ("I learned the hard way"). It's a turn-off.

... numerous published tarot articles, I am in the process of...

I am proud to offer Intuitive Tarot: Finding Your Inner Voice This may be the first and only place in your entire query where you mention your title. You'll likely need a word count, too, though I'm not as familiar with non-fiction.

...an author/shaman/music composer, told me I would stick to just "author" when mentioning these people's credentials, as the agent is only going to care about industry professionals who have been interested. Also, you may want to mention them by name. The agent may want to research your claim if they're well known, but either way, it looks more credible if you do. I would also change the way you start this paragraph to "There has already been some interest in my manuscript from other authors."

Strong, succinct and professional close. Watch too long sentences as well.

I hope something here was helpful to you. Best of luck!

Gina Rabbin said...

Thanks, everyone. All your comments and suggestions were very helpful, and I'll work on revising the query. I appreciate each of you taking the time to share your thoughts!