Aug 19, 2009


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

Hi Ms. Agent,

I appreciate the feedback you gave me regarding my earlier manuscript for RUDY TOOT-TOOT; there certainly is room for more. According to physics, gas expands to fit whatever size container it is in, so naturally the story grew from a short picture book to fill out the new 4,000-word chapter book manuscript ;-)

Rudy Toot-Toot, the gassy little boy who was born on a bean farm, wakes up one morning to find a list of chores left for him by Papa. One of the hired hands is sick and they need young Rudy to help out at the family Bean Market. Rudy's emissions keep slipping out as he completes each chore, sometimes expediting them (like when he wakes up all the Beanheads camped alongside the road), and sometimes prolonging them (like when his wind erases the Price Board). Eventually, Rudy's "gift" saves that day when the market bell breaks and he finds an alternate way to sound off for market close.

You had asked that I stay in touch. I hope you find the attached manuscript to be a marketable work that you would consider representing. In a world where WALTER THE FARTING DOG has earned his own movie, I think Rudy and his family can make a lot of noise!

Best regards,

Rick Daley
Lewis Center, OH
Phone Number


Iapetus999 said...

Is this a serious query?
I'm not sure how much agents like emoticons in queries.
What is Rudy's goal here? What are his challenges? What does he learn from the experience?
This is just a short synopsis that doesn't tell me what the character has to deal with.

Rick Daley said...

Thanks for the feedback!

Yep, this is a serious query. The manuscript was originally a 500-word picture book, and the agent responded that it was a great name, character, etc. but that it needed more, and asked that I stay in touch.

I re-wrote the manuscript and now it's a 4,000-word chapter book. Chapter books are targeted to kids ages 7-9 and have some illustrations.

I used the emoticon because I have prior communications with the agent and a degree of rapport. I wouldn't do that otherwise. I also emailed this as a reply to the last email from the agent so she can easily refer to our prior communications.

I felt these questions were answered in the story description: Rudy's goal is to complete the chores his Papa gave him. His challenges are that his toots get in the way.

Not as evident: He learns that there is a proper time and place for everything when he saves the day.

The agent also requests the full manuscript with submissions for children's books, and since the 4,000 words equates to 13 pages there is not much need to have more detail in the query (which indicates the MS is attached).

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Rick: Boys will love this.
I'm not so sure about how you opened this query. You are addressing someone who gave you feedback? I wouldn't say there is room for more. And no emoticon.
Rather that the two incidents presnted this way (like..) remove them and then follow with a crisis he causes and how that is a huge problem for him or his family.

Iapetus999 said...

I think my kid would like this book and he's 9 :)

I would start right with the problem statement.

Rudy wants to please his father by completing a list of chores, but those darn gassy explosions keep getting in the way. He tries to keep the detonations under the table but they blow away the bean market. When the bean market suffers a power outage, he must learn the right way to use his gift before his list--and the entire market--go down in gassy flames.

Now of course I don't know the exact plot, but you see how this is more of a teaser than a description, and shows the agent how this might be sold.

As far as the emoticon, I understand but remember this is a business communication. Agents want to deal with people who are serious about their careers, not just having fun. They want to know that they can work with you on a professional level. Just something to consider.

Victoria Mixon said...

Rick, for a query to an agent you already have rapport with, I think this is great. The whole dynamic changes once the agent is engaged.

Congratulations! If the agent comes back with either acceptance or suggestions, you are On Your Way. If not, you've still got a valuable contact for any other project you might come up with, and that puts you ahead of the herd!


RCWriterGirl said...

I like the query. If you can stick in there the overall lesson he learns: "there's a time and place for everything," I think it would make it stronger. For kids, this is often a tough lesson to learn.

Donna Hole said...

Quit it Rick!! I'm laughing too hard to type coherently.

Ok, I really need this book. I just moved and had to pack all my son's books away in storage. I forgot school was starting, and all those reading logs . . .

But, he'd love this one. Has this actually sold?

I'd make a comment on the actual query, but the one experiment I did into childrens - well, lets just say my 4 year old granddaughter wouldn't even look at the pictures.


Rick Daley said...

Victoria- You're right, having a prior relationship with the agent is important to the dynamic of the letter. That's why it's so important to do your research and know who you are querying and why.

RC- There's a lot of context to consider with this query - it's going to an agent who suggested a revision and asked that I stay in touch, and the agent prefers to just read the manuscript for children's books - the brevity simply illustrates that the story has grown from what was submitted the first time.

The lesson is in the story, and I've also used the market day at the bean farm to incorporate lessons in counting in a way that isn't preachy or teachy, but still gets a point across.

Donna- This hasn't sold, but I'm hoping it will. With my earlier draft I had fun with my kids, we drew pictures for it and colored them together. I would never submit those, I'd look to the publisher for a real artist, but that was a way to get the kids more involved / interested.

Laura Martone said...

Okay, I know I'm a few days late in commenting, but I just can't stop myself!

Honestly, Rick, I didn't realize this was a REAL query the first time around... I mean the book sounds hilarious, but sometimes I'm not sure when you're kidding and when you're, uh, not. I tell you, you're a man of mystery.

Anyway, I would say that if this is an agent that you have a rapport with... and who asked you to make some changes, then it's an awesome query, with just the right mix of humor and info.

Incidentally, what the heck is an emoticon?

Rick Daley said...


Thanks. I guess with me it can be a fine line between sarcasm and reality.

Emoticons are the little smiley faces, etc. you make with punctuation. For example:

:-) Smiley face
;-) Wink
:-0 Mouth open
:@) Smiley pig
:@0 Pig that just realized where bacon comes from

Laura Martone said...

Hahaha! Okay, NOW, I get it.

I especially liked the last one... :@0