Sep 5, 2010

Query- Off the Edge (2nd Revision)

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

Thanks for all your great feedback. I hope this is my final draft. I don't want to talk more about the accident, because everything I've learned about query says to not give away the ending (cuz the accident is crazy). I'm confused on what genre still. It's a romance novel, but it's also full of adventure and suspense. Any thoughts?

Dear (Agent):

Twenty-year-old Eden Anderson is beautiful, popular, and unlucky in love. When Eden’s parents send her to live with her cousin for the summer on the North Shore of Hawaii, the last thing she wants is to think about boys. She's determined to spend the summer on the beach, healing her heart and working on her tan.
So, when the handsome Noa takes a sudden interest in Eden, she’s right to doubt his intentions—his reputation for being a player is as deep and never-ending as his pocket change. She tries keeping their relationship in the ‘just friends’ category, but Noa's good looks, charming attitude, and constant attention proves difficult to resist.
When Eden agrees to accompany him on a sailing trip to Maui, she finds herself jumping off cliffs (something she swore she would never do again), swimming with sharks, and braving a storm that threatens to sink their tiny sailboat. Eden falls hard for Noa and quickly discovers why his reputation is the talk of the town.
But it might not matter when something unexpected risks everything—including her life.
"Off the Edge" is a complete 94,000 word romance novel.
I spent five years as a tour guide in Hawaii gaining knowledge of the island, culture, and expectations of typical tourists. To find out more, please visit my website at
I look forward to hearing from you,
Erin Apelu


Zee Lemke said...


Drop the "So" that starts the second paragraph. Doubting Noa's intentions has nothing to do with Eden's healing heart, but as you say, with his being a player.

Why is the "something unexpected" the subject of "risks"? Do you mean "threatens"? Bland either way.

I am concerned that by not talking about the accident, you're making the Noa/Eden relationship feel like the setup while there's a real plot lurking in the future somewhere.

TAKE OUT THE BIT ABOUT BEING A TOUR GUIDE. They'll check out your website if they're even halfway interested. The phrase "expectations of typical tourists" would tip me to "no" if I were on the line.

Zee Lemke said...

Oh, and website goes under your signature at the end, not in the query. You don't have to tell them to look at it any more than you have to offer to send a partial. This is just the way it's done, like saying "Dear" at the top.

Anonymous said...


I'm again going to disagree with Zee. Please read this article before taking out your credentials:

See the "show you are qualified" section for my point.

I'm still not a fan of that pocket change line. It really bothers me, but you must like it to be keeping it in so I digress.

I think you are writing a romance because the main plot is Eden and Noa. Romances can have action and suspense, too.

The discovers why his reputation is the "talk of the town" again, like the pocket change line, comes across as cliche. You can plainly state things without every line being "clever" and I think it would help your query.

This line is a reader's nightmare:But it might not matter when something unexpected risks everything—including her life. I re-read it five times and am still not sure what you mean. Again, I'm going to recommend plain language and standard subject/predicate sentences.

I love your idea and I'm excited about your locale. I think you can do this, but I'm still cutting up your query mentally to get excited about this adventure. You don't want an agent doing that. Keep at it! You're almost there!

Anonymous said...

Here's another link:

See #4

Google "Should I list credentials in a fiction query" and you'll find many more.

Dominique said...

This query definitely works. The only thing I'd nitpick about it the line about something risking her life. It seems to me a construction that doesn't work in English. Near as I can tell, she can risk her own life, or someone can risk her life for their own ends. People can take those risks. Things can't. A thing can't even risk itself, because it lacks the sentience. Therefore a thing (ie: A hurricane, car accident, chair, etc) can't risk her life. It can just endanger it.

Mesmerix said...

I think this query is perfect except for one line: "But it might not matter when something unexpected risks everything—including her life."

It's way too vague and it hits like the major plot point, when Noa & Eden is supposed to be the major plot. I only know that this accident thing is the ending because you've said that. In the query, it reads like this is the most important thing and you're leaving me all vague with it.

Maybe you could change it to something like, "But will their budding romance last through something..." Mentioning the romance in conjunction with the climax of the book may help fix it.

As for credentials, at this point, everyone is going to disagree. I think you should cut it, others say keep it. This is highly subjective and should be whatever you want because it's your query.

Really, I think the thing is perfect except for the one line. Fix it and send this sucker out. Call it romance and let the agent/pub decide in the end.

Best of luck!