Sunday, May 31, 2009

Query letter #7: Louise G

Dear Agent [another missed comma - tsk tsk, peoples]

What happens when the person you love asks for your help in trying to unravel the events that lead to their brother’s death, but all the while you know it was YOUR fault their brother died? Some secrets need to remain secret.
[Hmmm ... I'm not a fan of the rhetorical question at the start of a query letter. I know the author probably thinks that she's hooking me into the story, but I don't know anything about the story so I really don't care yet. Also, the last sentence looks a bit like a non sequitur because we don't know the storyline yet. Best to avoid this kind of plunging in. It would have been better to start with this second paragraph.]

Ellie Jenson has spent the last five years trying to forget the tragedy that sent her now ex-boyfriend Jack Edwards fleeing to the other side of the world. Trying to forget that Jack Edwards ever existed, trying to piece her life back together.

Now Jack is back in New Zealand
[here's the red alert - as an Australian agent, I'm duty bound to stop at any mention of the folk who regularly beat us at rugby union and write back to this author saying she has to query publishers in NZ], back in Ellie’s ER room [Que? What ER room?] and back in her heart, hoping to restart an investigation into his brother’s death and hoping to enlist Ellie’s help.

“The Doctor’s Surprise Proposal” is a 51,208 word (computer count)
[don't say this - we know it's a computer count, otherwise it wouldn't be so precise - but saying that it's a computer count makes me suspect you've only just used a computer for the first time] novel targeted at the Medical Romance Line. It is set within a backdrop of a busy ER department in North Auckland, New Zealand on the stormy west coast, at Christmastime (summer in New Zealand). [This paragraph should have come first - but I also need to say that the author is writing for a specific romance genre and sometimes the romance publishers have very specific guidelines for their query processes, so I could be giving the wrong advice - YES, IT'S POSSIBLE.]

The first five pages of “The Doctor’s Surprise Proposal” won the Romance Writers of Australia’s Hi5 contest and the complete manuscript is a Round 2 finalist in the Romance Writer’s of Australia’s Emerald Contest (currently being judged).
[Nice work, I'm paying attention.]

I have been writing seriously for the last 4 years, having had many non-fiction articles published (I am a nurse by training
[good, this goes to your bona fides to write about an ER ward]). I am a member of the Romance Writers of America, Australia and New Zealand. I have attended numerous conferences and classes to develop my craft to date.

I have enclosed the first three chapters of my novel and a synopsis for your consideration. I look forward to an opportunity to share the entire manuscript with you soon.
[I'm not a fan of lines like this last one - we presume you want to send us the entire manuscript, you don't have to say it. It would be better to end with something memorable - maybe funny. I'm more likely to pay attention that way. Query letters are usually so serious, but you'd be surprised how many manuscripts I've requested just because the query letter was funny in parts, and I've taken on quite a few of those authors.]

Kind regards
[Comma! Where's the comma?!!]

Louise G

Status: Conditionally APPROVED


emma said...

Dear Agent Sydney

As an editor for a Government department, I have to tell you that it's now considered acceptable to omit the commas in salutations. It's simply a matter of style -- and in my job, it's a style I have to adhere to.

KylieQ said...
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