Oct 24, 2010

QUERY: THE ODD I SEE (second revision)

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

Dear Agent,

Please consider representing my novel THE ODD I SEE, a 71,000-word work of slipstream fiction.

After a falling out with her favorite hallucination, a half-assed stay in the loony bin, and entry into the “real world” by way of college graduation, Fifi wants to know why she ought to bother existing.

Twenty-two year old Fifi works an underachiever’s dream job while struggling to reconcile her surrealistic worldview with modern middle-class American living. Her maybe-imaginary vampire lover tries to convince her that she'll become part of a constellation if she kills herself. On the other hand, her real-life boyfriend (whom she met while having an adventure in the art of pretending to be a prostitute) seems a solid case for divine intervention in a world Fifi deems just shy of apocalypse. Unsure of her continued interest in the business of existence, Fifi uses blue (and sometimes black) humor to systematically reason her way through the meaning of life and into a decision about whether the act of living is worth the effort.

I am writing to you because I connected with your interview on Guide to Literary Agents, your submission guidelines, and (novel you represented). An excerpt of this novel was published in the spring 2009 edition of the Newport Review literary magazine. A separate excerpt was published in the 2006 edition of Loyola University Chicago’s annual literary journal, Cadence. I can be reached by phone at ### ### ####, by email at bre@jamstage.net, or by postal mail at 123 XYZ St.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,
Bre Kidman
SIDEBAR: This is a small revision, I guess, but I'm having trouble packing more info into such a small space. Eep!

Also, a question: When an agent asks for a certain number of sample pages, should one take the number of pages, multiply by 250, and include that number of words? Is it safe to take that number of pages out of a Word document and include those? How does one calculate the length of a ten page excerpt?

Thanks for reading!!!


Anonymous Author said...

No, just send them that number of pages. If they ask for five sample pages, send them the first five pages, excluding any prologue. Don't stop in mid-paragraph, however.

Rick Daley said...

As a follow-up to the page Q&A, the MS should be double-spaced, 1" margins, 12-point Times New Roman font. Copy & paste the pages from the MS into the body of the email...most agents will not open attachments (unless it's a partial of full they have specifically requested).

Here's a tip: copy & paste from Word into notepad first (Start-Programs- Accessories-Notepad on most Windows PC's. You can also go to start-Run then type in notepad at the run prompt).

Then copy from notepad to your email. Word has many formatting elements that you can't see, but they will be copied with your text. Notepad strips all that so you are only working with the text.

Take time to make sure your sample pages are formatted properly in your email. You do not need to double-space the sample pages in the email.

Mesmerix said...

Honestly, I think you've got a winner here. My final suggestion to you is that you send it out to a batch of 5-10 agents. If you get at least 1 hit (request for partial or full) you're good to go. If you get 0, go back and revise again.

Format is as Rick has stated. Use double-spaced, and take the pages requested. End at the nearest paragraph/sentence break that makes sense. I recommend going slightly UNDER the pages rather than over. IE: If they ask for 5, don't break on page 6 because the paragraph extends there.

Best of luck. Would be curious to know how this turns out. :)