Apr 25, 2010

Query- History of the Tie Dye Bra

Dear Agent:

Jaclyn Witt is going to live the rest of her life with the man of her dreams. If only he’d cooperate and her three best friends would butt out. The History of the Tie Dye Bra and Other Lessons in Me chronicles the coming-of-age of quirky heroine Jackie Witt, who navigates the awkwardness of adolescence with a sense of humor and three inseparable and unlikely best friends.

Jackie, Francine, Chelsie and Joe grew up in each other's basements and backyards, laughing their way through everything from drunk dancing dilemmas to disastrous first loves. Her off-beat journey takes her to the end of her college days, where her dream romance with “the one” threatens to dismember her “strange little family.” So, do the funny foursome go their separate ways or prevail to protect each other’s frailties and friendship?

I am seeking representation for my first novel, a 50,000-word, humorous YA romance that uses the protagonist's witty narrative to tear at the heart and mend the soul.

I read that you were an agent with an interest in YA and romance novels who welcomes first-time authors with a unique voice and humorous perspective, which would make you the perfect fit for this book.

If you feel like History of the Tie Dye Bra is a project worthy of your time, I would love to forward a synopsis or sample chapters. Thank you for your time and consideration.


NOTE: I am considering replacing the third paragraph with a risky alternative, only because it parallels the humor of the book:

"And more importantly, will Ms. Agent be interested enough to consider representing this first novel? After all, the closest I’ve ever come to having anything published is my annual Christmas letter. While quite popular around the neighborhood, it certainly doesn’t complete a resume. But I digress. If I could just get her to read it, she’d find that History of the Tie Dye Bra is a 50,000-word, humorous YA romance that uses Jackie’s witty narrative to tear at the heart and mend the soul."

I am leaning towards the first one as it's obviously more professional. Opinions?


John said...

I'm unclear about the age of the protagonist and of the intended audience. The story ends at the end of college, but when does it start? If the story mostly takes place in college, then it's probably not YA nor about adolescence. Also "the awkwardness of adolescence" is a bit of a cliche.

Still, there's a lot about this story that I like, especially the title.

If you're going to go with the alternate third para, I'd cut: While quite popular around the neighborhood, it certainly doesn’t complete a resume. But I digress. If I could just get her to read it, she’d find that - then have another paragraph beginning: The History of the Tie Dye Bra is...

gj said...

YA is too far outside my expertise to comment substantively, but I've gotta say I love the title.

And, personally, I would NOT go with the "risky" alternative paragraph. First-person queries are just too tricky, confusing the author and the character, and I'd bet that the vast, vast majority of them are really bad (which yours isn't), so the technique likely makes agents twitch, even when the execution isn't bad.

Princess L said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you- John and gj. I'm stumped on the whole YA thing myself. The story starts in childhood and ends as they graduate college so it's not quite YA. There's no expensive shoes and career woes so it's not chick lit. Maybe it's women's lit?
Anyhow, thanks for the great advice; I really appreciate your input.

Genevieve Wilson said...

I love that title. It's brilliant!

Princess L said...

A talented friend gave me the idea. Now if she'd only get off this blog and finish reading my book...

Suzan Harden said...

You had me with the title, then totally lost me after the second sentence of the query.

Unfortunately, the query sounds like several other foursome books already out there (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Sex and the City). Focus on what sets Jackie's story apart from these. Why does Jackie's relationship threaten her "family?"

Two other things--there's a lot of telling instead of showing in this query. And please, PLEASE leave out that first sentences in the last paragraph. It sounds like Oliver begging for another bowl of porridge and that's definitely NOT the image you want to project. Be confident this is the book the agent wants.

Best wishes on your submissions.

folksinmt said...

It is a cute title, but when I read it I instantly thought of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. And half-way through the query, I felt like I was reading a knock-off of the Sisterhood. Your book might be entirely different, but your query sounds way to similar.

You do have a problem if it's not YA: 50.000 isn't long enough for women's lit. You need to figure that out before you query. I would say if the bulk of the story happens while they are in high-school, it would be YA. If the bulk happens at college, it might be women's.

I wouldn't go with the alternate paragraph. But you do have many lines that are telling that you need to fix. "uses the protag's witty narrative ..." you can tell me that, but give me reason to believe it. You tell us in the first paragraph that your heronie is quirky, but I don't see any examples of that in the query.

I just don't think that your query is 1. unique enough to spark interest and 2. doesn't show me enough of who Jackie is and why I should spend my time with her.

Otherwise, the structure is fine and your writing is solid. Good luck with your novel.

Princess L said...

I have to say- these comments are all on the money. I am rewriting with your suggestions in mind. Best of luck to you all!