Dear : Agents A-Z
I don’t know what kind of books you handle but I though if I just emailed everyone in the Writer’s Market I’m bound to get a few nibbles. My book FrightLight is almost halfway done and I thought I’d get a jump on the whole ‘representing’ thing.
My story is about a girl named Pretty, whose mom is a total flake and ships her to a rainy little town filled with woods and sheriffs and stuff. Pretty is sad and goes around being sad, and beautiful in a high school filled with people who instantly like her despite the fact that she is kind of unpleasant and a bummer. She crushes on this guy who treats her really bad, says she’s smelly, and stares at her menacingly in the parking lot.
The guy’s name is
and is actually an old guy trapped in a kid’s body…a friend of his gave him a virus called Vampire that makes him not age. He hangs out in high schools and stalks the new girls. He lives with other old people who have this virus. They all hate that they permanently look like hot teenagers because it’s a curse to be gorgeous for all eternity…plus if they go out into the sunlight they flash like strobe lights. Eugene
Everyone stays away from Eugene and his gang except Pretty, who thinks that boys sneaking into her room at night to watch her sleep is not stalker behavior, but kinda sweet. Although
constantly tells Pretty that she is unable to survive her own clumsiness, repeatedly tells her they can’t be friends, and disappears for days, she decides that he’s a catch and falls in love with him. Eugene
Pretty falls for a bait-and-switch ploy and is lured to be dinner by one of the opposing virus dudes. He and
fight and then Eugene ’s family tear him apart and set him on fire while dancing about in a rain-dance like fashion because that is what sophisticated virus people do. Pretty almost gets the virus, but Eugene saves her by sucking it out of her arm. He does NOT empty her like a juice pouch and since this is very challenging for him, it proves he’s totally in love with her and really strong. Eugene
Eugene’s family takes Pretty to the hospital, lies to her mother about how she got hurt, and then leaves Eugene there to watch her sleep some more. Pretty’s mom buys the entire story hook-line-and-sinker, leaving Pretty and
to be together. I have another book in mind about Pretty and a guy named Jason Gray who has anger issues and gets involved with a dog cult. Eugene
Thank you for your time. Get back to me quick for first dibs when I finish the book!
It's all in the way you say it...as you probably guessed. This isn't the real query letter for this book.
But I wrote an example of how a terrible query could knock a book out of the running simply by not being the best it can be.
Not addressing the query to a specific agent is one of the first mistakes. And there's no mention of genre or target audience.
There's no drama, no hook, no reason to read the actual book. This example is also WAY too long. There's no information about the writer either.
Also the heroine doesn't come off as sympathetic and her behavior is without an explanation. This makes her hard to relate to which is the opposite of how she comes off in the real book. The love interest seems like a psychopath, again without explanations, this book doesn't fit into the age category it was written for.
The fact that the manuscript isn't finished is also not great. The language is unprofessional and no research was done to make sure that the agent even represents the type of fiction in the query.
You could have the best manuscript, the most original take on a genre, but if you don't put the effort into the query process it won't go anywhere.
Find out the agents that represent your stuff. What are they looking for? Have you checked their website's submission guidelines? How about having a colleague read for punctuation and grammar errors?
You put so much of yourself into your story...take some of that passion and apply it to the business part of writing.
Do you have any tips on making your query the best it can be? Let me know if I missed anything. Until next time...Go Write!