Saturday, March 20, 2010

I hate query letters and why I am so excited! And obviously conflicted...

I am having a really hard time writing my query letter. For those of you who are not "in the know" and have no idea what a query letter is, let me tell you.

A query letter is a one page synopsis of a book that a writer creates to send out to agents/publishers to see if they are interested in representing/purchasing the book.

You basically have to create something that summarizes your novel, grabs the readers attention, and projects the voice of your novel. Sort of like the stuff written on the back of a book to get people to buy it.

Sound easy? It's not. Writing my novel was easier than creating the query letter. It sucks. It blows. It's quite possibly the most horrific thing I have ever had to do! (besides maybe giving birth, and I think I would rather do that again (including contracting hemorrhoids!) than write this stupid query letter!) Okay, I think I am done ranting. I won't mention hemorrhoids again, honest (but they were really bad and uncomfortable! which just tells you how much I don't like query letters.)

So, since I have sent my blog link to only my nearest and dearest friends, I am going to post my no good, awful, very bad query letter here for you to review and destroy at your own discretion. Please. Help me.

Here it is. I am cringing inside.

"Sophie Cole thinks that nothing could be worse than being eighteen and still living at home with her militant father, but she discovers that living on her own could be deadly.
(***every time I read this, I hear creepy music in my head..or "ka ka ka chuh chuh chuh!" This is my log line, or hook, and it's awful!)

As soon as Sophie crosses the city limits into New Canterbury, Connecticut, everything starts to fall apart. She rear-ends the most gorgeous guy she’s ever seen. She begins seeing things that she can’t explain, and being chased by things she can’t see. To top it all off, she hasn’t been sleeping at night because she keeps hearing strange noises, and someone or something tries to break into her house.

By the end of her first week in New Canterbury, Sophie’s entire life is disrupted when she discovers that she belongs to an elite group of demon slayers known as Guardians, and the thing that has been chasing her could very well be a demon.

Sophie and her new faction of do-gooders (which include Jackson, the hottie she ran into her first day in town) attempt to find out what kind of evil is lurking under the surface of the idyllic New England town, and what it wants with Sophie. To make matters more complicated, Sophie is falling for Jackson, a big no-no since Jackson has just barely split with another Guardian, Lydia, who is not only kind hearted, but is also one of Sophie’s first real friends."

That's what I have so far. Scary, right? I wouldn't buy that book, and I wrote it!!

Okay, onwards to the other reason I am posting this blog, or why I am so excited. I was surfing some blogs and I found this:

This is exciting because it is an article about St. Martins Press (big publisher) who is developing content targeted toward a specific group of young people: New Adults.

What does this mean? Well, generally, books are either written about adults (late twenties and on), young adults (high school), or middle grade or below. Nothing really in between.

Why am I excited? Because I wrote a New Adult book! She's in college, living on her own for the first time. Go me!

I read a blog post by an agent recently who said to avoid having characters in college because it's not really young adult, even if the character is technically a teen, and she said that it is a hard sell for publishers. I was majorly bummed because I like that my character is in college! When I started the journey of writing, I wrote it for me, I wasn't thinking "This is a young adult book" I was thinking "This is what I would want to read". And since I am an old hag with kids and a career and all that junk, I wanted to write about someone who was basically free, no strings attached, on her own, yadda yadda yadda. Someone who is not me! And I loved college! College is fun.

So, I was excited. And now I'm spent. ;)

1 comment:

  1. I think the query isn't doing the book justice. You have maybe three (four tops) paragraphs to lay out your hook, your synopsis, and your bio. You have to tighten until the strings break.

    And don't worry about what you should or shouldn't do in a story. If you write it well enough, you'll find a home for it. Let her be a college student for now.

    When you send your query, send it to only five places at a time. If it turns out the query isn't working, you haven't burned all your bridges. You can change it for future submissions.

    This book sounds as though it would be upper end YA. It's acceptable to write for a slightly higher age group for YA. You may have to make her a freshman and 18 instead of older but that wouldn't change your book much.

    I think the query needs to be tighter. More focused. It should tease the agent/publisher, not tell the whole plot. You should take a peek at the winning queries on query shark.

    It'll help.

    oh and HI MARY!!!!