Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Mania--Query Letter

One of our readers has submitted a query letter for critique. Please offer only constructive comments. 

 Critique Archive #52 

Dear Ms./Mr. Agent,

When Jared McAlister, in New York on business, sees the woman he thought he’d spend the rest of his life with walking down the street, all his anger and unanswered questions come flooding back. Why did Cecelia Chadwick disappear without a word and why did she lead him to believe they had a future together only to vanish? Jared is a successful attorney at the largest law firm in Dallas. As he tries to curb the spending habits of his girlfriend, who is pressuring him to ‘pop’ the question, he also fights against a domineering father. But when he sees the girl he believed would share his future in the city he hates, he finds his quests for unanswered questions isn’t as strong as his desire to be with her again.

Cecelia is a talented interior designer, making her mark in the Big Apple after years of hard work, yet she leads a lonely life, unable to move on from her first love, her only love and unwilling to settle for less. As Jared fights for a new beginning, Cecelia struggles to leave the past behind—both unaware they are being followed and money will change hands for Cecelia to disappear again.

ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK is my first novel. At 110,000 words, I believe it will appeal to contemporary romance fans. I’m beginning to build a platform with Facebook and Twitter. I’m in the early stages of learning to blog and my next step will be a website. I follow and interact with numerous authors on blogs, Facebook, by email, and on Goodreads. I’m an avid reader and a passionate writer with many stories to tell.

I appreciate your time in considering my query. I have included the first ten pages of my novel, my synopsis, and a brief bio. I look forward to hearing from you soon.




Josi said...

The story sounds interesting--I could see it as a movie from the very beginning. I do think the description goes on a little too long. I think it would be stronger for you to do one paragraph that points out the most important aspects of the story, the opening sentence of the first paragraph and ending sentence of the second were both really well done and should be kept in the tightened version.
Also, up your confidence in regard to Facebook and twitter--not that you're starting a platform, but that you are active in those communities. You're 'about me' paragraph had lots of great information but you seem insecure about it. Strengthen those things and if you've got any kind of college education, publishing credits (even articles or a blog), and if you've attended writing conferences, put that in there. All those things show you as an active participant in your goals with credibility.
Good luck--it sounds like a great book.

Tina Newcomb said...

Thanks so much for the comments. They are all so helpful and they make me wonder why I didn't see them myself. I appreciate your help, Josi.

Julie Wright said...

Agreeing with Josi on the description going long. You can cut the facts about his father and his over-spending girlfriend as they aren't the primary plot. Even his job and the fact that he hates NYC (blasphemy :)) are unnecessary bits of information in the query letter. Something else to consider is word count. On a new author 110,000 words is a big investment. Not saying it doesn't happen but that it's rare. I would maybe go through the manuscript and pare it down as much as possible. With paper costs on the rise and competition fierce in the national market, you want every bit of advantage you can get. I'd at least try to get it under 100,000. I am currently editing a novel I just finished with the intent of lowering word count, because I tend to go long. It stinks, but the manuscript is always better for getting the trim.

The plot is interesting and I am intrigued. Good luck!!

Tina Newcomb said...

Thanks for your comments, Julie. The cuts in the query make perfect sense and I appreciate you taking the time to read the letter. I've already cut 20,000 words in the novel and am not sure how to cut more, but will take another look. Thanks you.