Jun 25, 2010


Click here to read the original query.


Dear Agent,
I found your website upon looking for representation of Young Adult, and having gone through your list of books I feel that mine fits in. I am hereby requesting for representation of my complete manuscript entitled A Rose and an Amaranth of 115,000 words, which is Young Adult fiction and it is a first in a planned series.
This manuscript consists of a creative history to the origination of vampires that is not found in the cliché yet excellent vampire craze novels; it has its own world and functions. It tackles the relationship between a teenage girl (who is about to transform) and a vampire (who is unaware of the girl's nature, and yearns to be human so he may prove himself worthy of her love) but both face a challenge as each tries to keep up with their very different worlds. They both come to realize that she is betrothed to someone else, and infidelity is not taken lightly in his world. This is an interracial love story with a supernatural twist.
It has diary entries from the vampire for readers to learn about its world and how it is run today, and what troubles modern-day vampires face. In addition, minor characters give notes and details of the epidemic history of vampires, their culture and customs. And through this, the main character, an 18yr old girl (Rosario Ntombi Vinros) learns about the pains of love, and to keep her social life normal while also having to keep to obligations even at her most volatile state. There is a different side to being a vampire that no one ever knew.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I will be happy to send you my manuscript at your request. I hope to hear from you soon.



Anonymous said...

I have a few thoughts. Perhaps since you put this on this site you forgot to put paragraphs - if you haven't in your own version than you need to do so. No one likes to read a large chunk of text, we need white space.

This query is more telling than showing, in fact it is all telling. You need to write the query in third-person tense from the persective of your mc. Restructure your ideas and rewrite it.

There is a little leeway in your own voice coming through in the paragrah or sentence where you tell the agent about yourself or your book.

Thats my humble advice.


Anonymous Author said...

There is still a lot here that shows your awkwardness with the English language, and that's likely to turn an agent off. I repeat that while I admire your very advanced English language skills, you'd be better off trying to get published in your first language if that's possible. If it's not, you need a native English speaker to proofread your work.

Things to take out of your query:

The first two sentences. Obviously you're seeking representation for a novel. The title and wordcount can go at the end.

*Any* criticism of published novels. Agents and editors don't like this.

And I agree with the previous commenter: break your query into paragraphs, and talk about the story as if it was really happening. Don't keep reminding us that it's only a story.

You may want to look at your manuscript and see if it has the same issues as your query. It's no good writing a perfect query unless you have a perfect manuscript to send after it.

gj said...

I just want to repeat and expand on the previous comment's suggestion: never, ever, ever, ever, EVER refer to other books negatively in a query.

It's not going to do you any good -- I can't tell if your story is a cliche until I've read it, and your telling me it's not cliche is actually something of a cliche among query writers.

It may, however, do you a lot of harm. For all you know, the agent just loves, loves, loves the very books -- every single one of them -- that you're criticizing, so by saying that your book is NOT like the ones she loves, you're telling the agent she won't love your book. And even if the agent agrees with you that those books are less than stellar, the agent also knows that they are the books that READERS love, so you're saying that your book is NOT like the books that readers love, which suggests that no one will buy it.

Keep all negativity out of queries. Avoid: 1) disparaging other writers, 2) disparaing readers' preferenes -- they are, after all, enjoying the books you consider cliche -- and 3) disparaging yourself (including your charactes and your story).

On a more substative note: avoid talking about the story's structure and themes and morals. Don't tell the agent about diary entries or what a person learns, etc. Just tell the agent an interesting story, as if it were true, and had happened to a really close friend: This really cool person did this really nifty thing in order to accomplish an amazing feat, but this really strong opponent did even more amazing things to stop her, and they are both compelled to struggle to the bitter end.

RCWriterGirl said...

I agree with the other commenters:

--Put in paragraph spacing
--refrain from criticizing trends/other novels/publishing in general
--be specific. Tell us what happens in your novel. Not sure what I mean? Your query should always answer these questions:

1. Who is your main character (name, pithy trait, age)
2. What is your main character's goal?
3. What obstacle is preventing MC from reaching goal?
4. What is at stake if MC does not reach goal?

Four questions. Answer them. That's what agents want to know. So, you need something like this: "Prickly and pretty 16-year-old Jane Smith is about to turn into a vampire, but vampire John Lewis, 17, is trying to keep her human. If she Jane doesn't find away to turn vampire, she'll die an excruciating fiery death." Clearly this example I gave is an awful story. But, you can tell it's an awful story because I've given you the basic plot elements and characters.

With your query in it's current form, I can't tell anything about the story. It's too vague.

As to word count, genre and title, they can go either at the top or the bottom. I've read agents that like to know it up front and others who want it at the bottom. No agents appears to hold it against you if you put it in the opposite spot they want it (though, they do appear to hold it against you if you don't include it at all).

Good luck with your book.

Anonymous said...

HERE IS THE DRAFT QUERY OF A ROSE AND AN AMARANTH. Thank you for your comments they were really helpful and showed me things I never realised. Oh sorry for that, there are paragraphs I seemed to have forgotten. I have realized the bad thing on commenting on other books, thank you for that insight.
I hope this now ‘shows’ rather than telling.

Dear Agent,

A Rose and an Amaranth is an 115,000 word Young Adult complete manuscript and a first in a planned series with the sequels in outline. It is about a vampire who finds himself unworthy of a human girl to the extent of wanting to be human for her yet he does not realize her yearn to be like him.

Rosario Vinros is a hopeful girl waiting for the “climax” of her life to arrive. She is alive because she does not have the courage to commit suicide, but who said suicide is one way to die, there is however chancing on a hauntingly intoxicating vampire that she can provoke to get 'The Kiss' from. The problem is Daniel Heath Forsyth is damningly obsessed with finding his father, underlying is the stake at which Rosario's life lies for he chooses her out of the girls in the Catholic school to be his company, and no one seems to understand why. His plans get ruined when he realizes that he has fallen for the girl. He finds it possible to turn in to a human owing to a virus circulating in his world, and he feels he will now become worthy of her if he allows the virus to infect him, but three vampires have already died of it and he runs a high risk of dying too. Though everyone is going back for vaccination he chooses to risk everything.

Sadly, Rosario and his family come to learn that she is a latent vampire and is linked to someone she is obliged to marry and in their world infidelity is not taken lightly. She and Daniel part ways, and as she waits for her awakening to be triggered by this person she is to meet, she wonders what may come of her life and through this road she learns about the values of family and love and fighting for what you want.
Thank you for your time and consideration, I will be happy to send you my manuscript at your request. I hope to hear from you soon.


Anonymous Author said...

Dear writer, I started out to correct the errors in your revised query, but there are so many and this format isn't appropriate for it. The biggest problem is long sentences which are hard to follow, contain extra words, and sometimes become run-ons. Your manuscript probably has them as well. So you really, really, really need to get a proofreader who is a native speaker of English. Some corrections for the first paragraph are in brackets.

Dear Agent,

A Rose and an Amaranth is an [a] 115,000 word Young Adult complete manuscript and a [the] first in a planned series with the sequels in outline. It is about a vampire who finds himself unworthy of a human girl to the extent of wanting to be human for her yet he does not realize her yearn [yearning] to be like him.

That last sentence is an example of the kind of long sentence I'm talking about. Try this:

It is about a vampire who feels himself unworthy of a human girl, to the extent of wanting to be human for her. But he does not realize her yearning to be like him.