Sep 4, 2010


Good morning! I was given your name by a colleague who thought you might be interested in a fantasy/fairy tale novel that I have been working on. Below please find an introduction to the story's plotline, along with some additional information about the novel.

In the aftermath of Happily Ever After, Cinderella has risen to the throne, although the once-innocent princess is now more wicked than her stepmother. She reigns over her kingdom with tyrannical abandon. A rebel band of fairy tale heroes, led by General Snow White and her dwarven resistance fighters, discovers Cinderella's power hungry plans to invade Alice's Wonderland. Time is running out as Snow White, Rapunzel, Goldilocks, and others mount a desperate attempt to stop Cinderella before her war destroys the kingdom and everything they hold dear. The rebels' only hope of success rests on the shoulders of a young girl named Patience Muffet. Patience carries the fabled shards of Cinderella's glass slippers, as well as the dark secret of who murdered the last of the fairy god mothers.

SHARDS OF THE GLASS SLIPPER, at about 114,000 words, is a quest-centered fairy tale adventure with strong female heroes, and should appeal to Young Adult fans that enjoy such popular fantasy series as "The Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter." Classic fairy tale characters are faithfully reinterpreted from their fabled origins and are woven into an ensemble cast with the benefit of pre-existing familiarity. It is no coincidence that Hollywood continues to draw from these stories, as evidenced by a multitude of Disney blockbusters, as well as the recent success of "Alice in Wonderland." In addition, although SHARDS OF THE GLASS SLIPPER is a stand-alone story with a satisfying resolution, it has great potential to be made into a series of books.

As a professional graphic artist, I have had the opportunity to build a significant fan base for this story. My award-winning artwork from SHARDS OF THE GLASS SLIPPER has been displayed at several fantasy convention art shows, including DragonCon, which was attended by more than 30,000 people in 2009. I have received enthusiastic feedback and great interest in this story while in attendance at these events and via the Internet.

Please let me know if you would like me to submit chapter samples, as well as a promotional kit that provides more information about the story and its
characters. You may also visit [WEBSITE NOT PROVIDED] for more information about
the story and the artwork.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


Zee Lemke said...

Oh man I love some of the phrases here. "Dwarven resistance fighters?" Yes please! The idea sounds great. The query does need a little work.

Cut the whole first paragraph unless the colleague is a published (or at least represented) author you can name-drop. Yes, cut the good morning. It doesn't belong.

The rest of the query is still too long (and I'm sort of worried that the book might be, too). Central conflict: Cinderella is invading Wonderland. Hero: Snow White. I love "the dark secret of who murdered the last of the fairy godmothers," but unless the hero is actually Patience and not Snow, I'm concerned that it's too side-plot-y.

I already know it's a quest-centered fairy tale adventure. You just showed me. Don't tell me again. General Snow White had better be a strong female hero or I'm'a smack you with a feminist treatise, so take that out too. Don't say it appeals to Young Adults (caps are weird there anyhoo); just call it a 114,000 word YA fantasy. Which is probably too long for YA unless you have already published a shorter book that has sold millions of copies. Speaking of which, don't compare yourself to blockbusters! Don't do it! Everyone and their kooky Hindu aunt (well, my kooky Hindu aunt) loves Harry Potter, so that's not specific enough. Either don't compare at all or pick someone mid-list. Then take out the rest of the paragraph too. The agent has presumably heard that Alice in Wonderland was recently made into a movie, and if they haven't, it still doesn't matter.

The attendance at DragonCon tells me nothing about how many people looked at your art. I'm a little worried that you put the 30k number in there because you spent the whole time bored at your booth. I'm sure you didn't, but take out that part too. Take out all of that paragraph and then just tell me what awards your artwork won.

Take out the second-to-last paragraph. All you need to say is "Thank you for your time and consideration."

Zee Lemke said...

Oh, and when I saw this, I immediately thought "Fables," which come to think has a novelization. And a General Snow White. You, uh, might need to do something about that. (Or read it anyway, it's a great series.)

Terri Nixon said...

I wrote a really long comment on this earlier, and I got an error message for my troubles. *sigh* Ah well, I'll try and remember what I said!

First off, I love this premise. I think the idea of having fairytale heroines is a great one, kind of reminds me of Shrek when they did that (with the kickass soundtrack!)

I think you can cut back on the Cinderella-is-a-meanie thing, by deleting "power hungry" as we already get that from "wicked" and "tyrannical."

I also think you're over-selling it a little bit. In the para where you're telling us why we should like it, that's got a hint of desperation about it. Well-written, but desperation nevertheless; because we are so familiar with those characters there's no need have to have it rammed home quite so hard. Ease off on that a little bit and you've got a gem here!

There's quite a lot of black type here, which can be offputting and you don't want someone skimming and missing bits of your intriguing plotline, that'd be a real shame.

Oh, and I agree, and said it earlier in the post that went *poof* please drop the "good morning!" bit: the agent might not be reading it in the morning, and the exclamation mark is a bit too bright-as-a-button and undermines the fascinating idea you've put forward here. Now, I'm going to copy this to my clipboard before I post it, just in case ;)

Terri Nixon said...

Oops, one more thing, just a nitpicky one: godmother is one word.


Anonymous Author said...

I agree with everything Zee said. It is all good advice. Furthermore:

Cinderella and Snow White are traditional folk tales and in the public domain. Alice in Wonderland isn't a folk tale. Certainly enough time has elapsed for the character to have entered the public domain, but it's possible Disney may own the rights. You should check into that and, if necessary, change the name of the character and of Wonderland. The evil-queen-of-Wonderland thing is in fact the plot of Disney's last A-in-W movie, so that's another reason to consider changing the names.

And I'd cut all the stuff Zee suggested cutting. You don't want your query to stand out for any reason other than your story. (I'm not sure I'd even mention the art unless this is a graphic novel.)

Anonymous Author said...

Well, the beautiful thing about the interwebs is: my quick Google search tells me both that Disney owns the rights to A-in-W, and that it is in the public domain.

Both can't be true, but you'll have to find out which is.

Zee Lemke said...

Lost Girls is the best argument I can think of for AinW being public domain.

...and if you can stomach gross-out incest porn, it's also a great take on some of these characters.

Donna Hole said...

OMG! This is so unique, so completely different than the stock and trade seen in traditional querying, that I really don't want to comment. But I feel compelled to throw a little controversey in the mix.

The voice in this drew me in
immediately. I read all the way to the end with a goofy grin on my face. If I'd read this as a back-of-the-book blurb, this novel would be in my cart and off the cashier before I'd finished my shopping. Unless it had an outrageously high price for an unknown author :)

Agents are always posting that they want to read something with a unique voice, something that is original. Maybe you'll accomplish that with this query.

Like the others said, perhaps mentioning you were given the "name by a colleague" might not go too far unless you can name the collegue and it be one of the Agent's acquaintances or represented authors; and yeah the bit about "Hollywood continues to draw from these stories . ." is a bit opinionated if you're not an industry professional. But this really shows off your writing and marketing skills.

Your credentials as a professional graphic artist with award winning artwork from the Titled work and an existing fan base sounds extremely appealing to me. (I'm not an industry professional at all, but I'd be impressed by the listings if I saw it on the novel. I'm already wishing I could visit the website.)

Sorry Dude, I know I'm no help at all here. Submitting something so totally out of the norm is risky, and I thought if you were looking for a little encouragement to try it, I couldn't resist backing you.

Good luck with the process. I'll definitely be looking for this one on the shelf someday.


Roy Mauritsen said...

Wow! Thanks for all the great feedback... I will certainly consider all of these suggestions. This letter has already gone out to a few agents and has gotten interest from at least 2 agents who have requested chapter samples and a full read!
but I welcome a chance to further refine, so thank you all.

Yes, Alice in Wonderland is public domain.
I have seen fables it's great but not at all like this story.
I debated the use blockbuster comparison for quite a bit. But it still is the quickest way to convey the tone of my story, mainly because Fairy Tales are SO familar. Hence the oversell, I guess. I'll see what I can do.

Roy Mauritsen said...

I posted a revised version of this query. Hopefully, it will pop up soon