Mar 15, 2010


Dear Ms. (Agent Name),

I am seeking representation for my romance novel “Finding Tessa” (72,400-word, 230-page),
a steaming and passionate love story between a Romanian do-not-step-on-my toes feisty woman and an Italian don’t-take-no-for-an-answer attractive man.

When people fall in love, there are circumstances that either bring them together or drive them apart. So is the story of my main characters, Tessa and Alex. He is a handsome Italian, powerful and successful, and a loving husband. He is living the good life until one night his wife is killed in a car accident and his whole world falls apart. Nothing and nobody can help him snap out of it or fill the emptiness in his heart. His life passes by without him being able to feel anything until he meets Tessa. She is a young Romanian, beautiful, smart and a very independent, full of energy and ready for whatever life throws at her. Her accidental encounter with Alex impacts their life forever, without either one of them knowing. Following a one-night stand, the two of them part and each returns to their normal life. Years later, the two characters get another chance to meet, but their union is tested again.

After things seem to have taken a normal course, an attack by her ex boy friend leaves Tessa in a coma until one day she wakes up, but has no recollection of who she was, nor any of the people around her. From a normal and happy existence, Tessa’s life turned upside down. Her inability to remember anything from her past, her frustrations and struggle to find herself again takes a toll on her relationship with Alex. For a period of time, she opts to battle by herself the internal turmoil and demons that feasted at her soul and heart.

Eventually, time and love prevail and the two lovers find themselves once again in each other’s arms. They accept the fact that Tessa’s memory was lost forever … or so they thought. Familiar surroundings, a smell, an image and all that was lost came back to her in a moment. In a blink of an eye she remembers who she is, and how she got there. In a moment, she got back what she longed for, her previous life and memories, but also a lot more. There is still one more secret she needs to tell Alex before they can be free to live and love one another.

Writing about Romania and Romanian people only makes sense because of my background. I was born and raised in Romania but moved to the US about six years ago and have lived ever since in Arizona.

Thank you for considering this query concerning my romance novel, “Finding Tessa.” I would love to send you my manuscript and look forward to hearing from you.

My name
My contact info


Emily said...

I hate to say it but I think this query needs to go back to the drawing board.

Paragraph 1
You do not need to include both the page number and word count. I think you should opt for the word steamy rather than steaming, as in a steaming pile of… well that’s where my mind went anyway. Not what you are going for I think. The hyphenated adjectives just do not work for me. But even so, you would need another hyphen after “my” in your compound adjective.

Paragraph 2
The first sentence of the second paragraph is a meaningless generality. The next sentence is unnecessary. The description of your main characters is very generic. You need more specifics. Not to mention this whole paragraph is telling not showing. And you say “their union is tested again.” When was it tested the first time?

Paragraph 3
Ex boy friend needs to be ex-boyfriend. The first sentence is a run on. Also, I think you have a big problem here with this case of soap opera amnesia. This just does not happen in real life. Not only is it unbelievable, it is a cliché. And it takes a toll on her relationship? Just a toll, really? I mean she doesn’t even know who Alex is. I think the language is understating the problem. Also you have tense issues here. You are switching to past tense. Be aware of this. You should instead write “Tessa’s life is turned upside down.” And “internal turmoil and demons that feasted at her soul and heart” is just plain over-writing. Rein it in, ground the language.

I think you may need to start from scratch, make your query shorter and be careful to avoid cliches and generalities.

However, I must warn you that the premise sounds a bit tired to me. Be sure that your manuscript has a new take on this old trope.

folksinmt said...

Unfortunately, most of your query is telling rather than showing. You can say that it is steamy and romantic, but unless I can envision that through your writing, I'm not going to buy it, both figuratively and literally.

I think I would be cautious mentioning the amnesia in a query. It seems over done. As far as I understand, amnesia is really rare...yet we see it all the time in fiction. I would shy away from that, just to make the book seem more authentic.

But I am really excited about your heritage. I have read lots of different agent websites that say they are looking for books that are multi-cultural. I would really focus on that in your query. Where does the novel take place? What is there about him being Italian and her being Romainian that makes them unique, or presents greater challenges to the novel? Focus on everything that sets your book apart from the thousands of others out there.

Good luck!

Suzan Harden said...

A lot of publishing houses are looking for multi-cultural stories. A Romanian heroine would be something new and fresh.

Unfortunately, I will be brutal here concerning your query in two words--too long.

A good rule of thumb is keep your query paragraphs dealing with your actual story down to 250 words. All you need is your protagonist, what he/she wants, and what's standing in his/her way from getting he/she wants.

Best wishes on your submissions.

The Starving Writer said...

This query is way too long.

Just off the top of my head,you should lose the first paragraph

Unfortunately, there's nothing in it that grabs my attention, and I'm not an agent.

Find something unique about your story, and and use that to drive your query letter. What you have now is stuff that has been used too many times to attract an agent's intrest.

Here's an idea, begin the query with Tessa coming out of the coma, and from there show what is happening in her life. i.e. how she got there, and how is she going to move forward.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,

it's me Tessa's mom. Wanted to thank you all for your comments, but first of all I'd like to thank Rick for posting my QL.

Now, back to my query. I woke up this morning and was anxious to read the comments. With my second cup of coffee, I have to admit your comments sit better :)))), especially Emily's who really put the dot on the I.

What I posted was not a QL, but more a synopsis where I lost myself in too many details and those not interesting. So no wonder I got criticized.

I do know I have a bunch of flaws and what sounds great in Romanian might not sound so good in English. I had to laugh at Emily's comment about the steamy versus steaming (I had crab legs on the stove when I wrote that, so I guess the lesson to be learned here is don't cook and write QL in the same time, right?)

Folksinmt and Suzan came and put a small band aid on the bruises caused by Emily's comments, so thanks to you both. I think the idea of focusing on the multi-cultural genre is a great start, so I will work on that.

Wishing you all a wonderful and sunny day,
Tessa's mom

Emily said...

I certainly didn't mean to leave bruises! I apologize for the lack of tact on my part.

I will say that my comments are not directed to you personally, to your ability to write, nor the manuscript (which I haven't read). My comments only pertain to your page long query letter, a very small sample of writing to be sure.

I should have taken Rick's advice about the sandwich method. Delicious pastrami has never given anyone a black eye (that I am aware of). In the future I will be sure to wrap the quarters of my comments in the thick sock of politeness... okay that analogy is terrible.

So again, sorry for the lack of tact and please do not be discouraged by well-intentioned but occassionally blundering blog commentators!

Best of luck to you in all your writing endeavors-