Oct 10, 2010

Query - All Because of You

Dear [Agent name],

I am writing to you because I believe my 85,000-word contemporary suspenseful women’s fiction novel, ALL BECAUSE OF YOU, would be appropriate for your agency.
Kidnapped at the age of seven, Adelaide Banvard has been forced to kill her entire life. She’s kept at the side of Christian Wren, one of the most powerful men in Los Angeles, but after ten years, finally has a chance to escape. Her opportunity comes in the form of ATF Agent Marcus Grant, a man whose assignment is to apprehend the leader behind one of the largest local gun running operations California has ever seen. His loyalties are tested at every turn as he fights his way through Wren’s organization and his second-in-command. But Adelaide isn’t everything she seems. Her schizophrenic mind, superb combat skills and exquisite beauty fascinate Marcus beyond control, leading his investigation into hot water and into Adelaide’s own little world.

Thank you for your time and consideration...blah blah blah.



Anonymous Author said...

Okay-- first, start with the second paragraph. You don't need to explain why you're writing to the agent.

Second, pick a genre, one genre. This doesn't sound like women's fiction to me.

Third, pick a protagonist. It sounds at first like Adelaide's the protagonist, but then later it looks like the story's from Marcus's POV. Even if the novel is from both POVs, pick one or the other for the query.

Fourth, I'm a little thrown by the idea that Adelaide isn't everything she seems. She kills people, yes? Therefore, she seems like a killer. Unless she's still seven, she's going to have a hard time making the notion that she's forced to kill people stand up in court. IANAL, but I'm pretty sure the Nuremburg trials killed that defense for good. She seems like a killer, and she is one... or I'm missing something, or this isn't coming out quite the way you want.

Start over, and write from Marcus's POV if he's the protag. (I don't mean write as if you were Marcus, of course.)

And put the wordcount and title at the end.

Las Vegas Writer said...

THANK YOU. These are the type of comments I need to hear. I took all your advice and made another draft. I will repost in a couple of days and hope you can comment on the revised version with your opinions.

Tally said...

Just popping in to say that I agree with everything Anonymous said, but the premise sounds good. I saw that you were going to post another, though, so I'll keep an eye out for that.

Oh, one more thing- white space. You need bigger spaces between paragraphs.

Anonymous Author said...

You're very welcome. Glad you found something useful in it.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Anonymous Author hit it. The only thing I would add is watch out for phrases like 'forced to kill her entire life' - it can be taken two ways. Try something more like: Kidnapped as a child, Adelaide Banvard has been a trained killer since she was seven.

Or something like that. Also, like AA said, stick with one genre. From the description, I'm guessing 'suspense'. And never, ever say 'fiction novel' in a query. It ticks agents off. Read Janet Reid's blog and her QueryShark blog for examples of how much.

This sounds like an interesting premise. Good luck and I look forward to seeing your rewrite. =o)

Tabitha Bird said...

Well, I am going to DISAGREE with Anonymous. You do need to personalize the query letter and tell the agent why you are querying them. I would say you need to be more specific. Why do you think the agent is a good fit for your work? What do you know about them that makes you believe this?

Second- please, oh please don't put 'fiction novel' in your query. All novels are fiction. There is no such thing as a 'non-fiction novel'. That would be a memoir or an autobiography or some other title. But if you say it is a novel it is known and understood that it is a work of fiction.

Third- word count and title can and should go at the beginning. Agents like to know what they are dealing with and what the book is called up front.

Trawl agent blogs and websites and have a look at the query letters they liked. Heaps of agents do this on their blogs.

Be real clear about who your protag is, who the antag is and what happens to throw them both together. In other words, what are the stakes? What does the antag want? What does the protag have to loose. Premise is good. Not sure if this is women's fiction though.