Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Query Letter for a Dark Comedy


In my inevitable post-NaNoWriMo freak out over what to do next, I decided to edit a novel I wrote a couple of years ago.  I started thinking about whether I could get it published traditionally, which led me to think about query letters.  I am apparently over my queryletterophobia mostly, but I can't seem to get this one right - I'm not even close. 

It's a dark comedy.  When I told my sister the premise of the story, she laughed out loud.  But when I attempted to write the query letter four separate times, the story sounds depressing.  I wouldn't want to read it. 

I sent my best version to my critique partner.  Maybe I need to work on it over a margerita or two.

I'll share it here when I get it to the point where the story sounds entertaining. 

25 comments:

  1. I was working on a query letter recently. They can be a real pain in the backside. I read a lot of the queries on the Query Shark blog. That's pretty interesting and since it's an agent's blog the advice isn't the usual blind leading the blind.

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    1. I've read some queries there too - it doesn't exactly make me feel more confident. :)

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  2. Let Matthew at the QQQE blog critique it for you. He's really good.

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    1. Will do. I need to figure out how to present it as being funny first.

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  3. I agree with Alex. Matthew at the QQQE blog is a better place to go to than query shark. I've heard that query shark is a great place to go if you're wanting to query for Young Adult only, and for agents who are like Janet Reid. So just off the top of my head...agents like Suzie Townshend, most of the agents at Writer's House,and Donald Maas (I have no idea if I even spelled his name right).

    But for other more indie agents who aren't part of a huge conglomerate under one roof, you may need to structure your letter differently.

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    1. Thanks. I looked up those agents today - they looked great. But the stress of it made me want to find a regular job.

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  4. If I had my way, I'd ban query letters. And pitches. Writing the novel is easy when compared to squeezing the whole thing into a couple of paragraphs. Don't you think?

    Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

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    1. I absolutely agree. How can spending a year writing and editing 68,000 words be easier than writing one page? It doesn't make sense, but it is more difficult.

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  5. What Alex and Michael said!
    Matthew at QQQE is wonderful with query critiques.

    And feel free to email me with your query if you want some private feedback. I'm not as good as Matt, but I love dark comedy and could probably let you know if it's coming off with the right tone.

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    1. Thank you so much. I will take you up on that when I get a better draft worked out. Not sure how long that will take....

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  6. I wonder how many great books never find a home because of the query letters. I always think mine are terrible.

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    1. I bet a lot of people give up either before the query letter or after multiple rejections. I am coming to accept the fact that rejection is just part of it and is no big thing. Maybe that was what was up with Emily Dickinson - she was just freaked out by the query letter. :)

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  7. I love dark comedies! Good luck with your query letter, and it looks like you've already gotten some good advice.
    Julie

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  8. Now I'm dying to hear the query letter. Margaritas can't hurt. Right?

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  9. Please share! I love the way you write your posts. I'm sure I'll love the way you write!

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  10. QL's suck. I bet your's is good. I'm looking forward to reading it. :)

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  11. Sounds like a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Why not post it here and ask for help? Also, Sharon Bayliss is really good at query letters - you can give her a try:) Query letters are hard - we all need help with them because other's can see what we can't, just like in our novel writing.

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  12. Sounds like a fun read! Maybe you could look at some blurbs for books you know of that are dark comedies, and get some ideas? One I read recently was THE BEDROOM SECRETS OF THE MASTER CHEFS. Hilarious and yet awful.

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  13. Waiting to see the interesting part coming up:-)
    I too am toying with the idea of publishing one of the blogs I wrote (about a bird and its nesting)

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  14. Queries are tough -- keep it simple, focus on the character and conflict, pretend you're the voice-over on a movie preview. And have fun with it.

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  15. Margaritas always help! I've never done a query, so I take my hat off to you. I'm sure the feedback you'll receive will be both positive and constructive, and will help make it perfect. Can't wait to learn more about your dark comedy!

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  16. I think query letters are so hard. Honestly I think they are way worse than writing the novel itself. I hope your crit partners are able to help and you can come up with a letter you like. I know I would love reading a dark comedy story!

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  17. Give us all your pitch. We'll help. :D I'm much better with other people's than my own.

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