Friday, May 29, 2009

Query letter #5: Annie S

Dear Agent,

What happens when Mean Girls become mothers?
[This is a solid-gold start: I know immediately what sort of book this will be and who might read it. The author has cleverly used a cultural reference to cut down on the amount of explaining she needs to do.] Adam James thinks his new wife Amy [you could use some commas around 'Amy' but I will let it go because the first sentence rocks] is adjusting to motherhood pretty well. Then he sees security camera footage of Amy acting as a decoy while the rest of her mothers’ group conceal $900 digital hard disc recorders in their Bugaboos. [Gold, gold, gold. I am hooked.]

Mum on TV is the opening scene of The First Year, a complete 78,000-word manuscript aimed at readers of contemporary women’s fiction.
[The author didn't need to tell me this straight up because she completely hooked me with that first paragraph - she gave me all the reasons I needed to keep reading - so the information can stay in the second para position.]

It tells the story of English Amy
[comma here] who almost spent her first year of being a mum in Sydney’s eastern suburbs doing the traditional mix of gymbaroo, sleep school and swimming lessons. Instead, Amy is drawn to a trio of magnetic yummy mummies. What do the women see in Amy that transforms the clique into a seemingly tight quartet? Amy is in a foreign country with a newborn; her husband has gone all hunter/gatherer on her and she can’t decide if her mother-in-law’s interference is misguidedly benign or plain toxic. Motherhood is also bringing Amy’s own childhood into painful focus. As isolated Amy becomes increasingly dependant on her mothers’ group, it takes a while for her to realise that some bonds of sisterhood are meant to be broken. [More gold - this author goes to the top of the class - she has told me absolutely everything I need to know to make a decision about whether or not I want to read the manuscript: she has set up the main character, the plot and the points of intrigue.]

Running alongside a plot that includes pram-jacking
[ha!], an assault on Pumpkin Patch [gold!] and an actual arrest,[lose this comma] is an honest account of the joyous terror that a first baby brings. By the time her baby is a mighty toddler, Amy will look back at his first year with nostalgia. Really, the baby bit is the easy bit, she’ll tell her husband. It’s not like they move. [I've kind of hit the snooze button here because the pace drops back a bit, but not enough to deter me.]

I’ve worked in communications since graduating in 1997. With high-profile work in both the public and private sector, writing is part of my daily life in the form of brochures, websites, newsletters etc.
[Good - establishing her writing background without belabouring the point.]

I would love to forward you my synopsis, sample chapters or indeed the full manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.
[I think verbs like 'love' are underappreciated and underused in daily life - what's wrong with a bit of vigour in a business communication? So I like this more relaxed sentence, and this is one of the rare query letters where I'd say, 'Hang the sample chapters - send me the full thing!']

Best regards,
Annie S
Status: APPROVED with distinction

1 comment:

Fran said...

I am so enjoying your query letters. I thought I knew it all, but I didn't.