Many novels have a phrase on the cover that says "a name here novel".
Examples: a Ray Sharp novel; an Avery Cates novel.
When you write a query letter and tell me your book is like a thriller similar to those written by Ray Sharp, or crime noir like the talented Avery Cates I laugh so hard I blow coffee out my nose.
Unless you intend to be hilarious, this is NOT the reaction you want to your query.
I thought it was obvious these are the names of characters. You can tell who the author is; that's the OTHER name on the book. When you look on Amazon, the author is the name that's preceded by "by."
If you didn't know that, now you do.
This is a mistake of carelessness. It's a huge warning sign. My goal is to always work with writers who err on the other side of care: they slave over every word. I'd rather have authors from whom I have to wrest pages as they wail "it's not done! it's not done!" than authors who throw pages at me saying "here, make sure I didn't confuse The Light Brigade with ConEdison. They're both in New Jersey, right?"
There's a reason for this. When I know you are meticulous, I don't assume the innovative things you do are wrong. For example, I represent Steve Ulfelder, a writer of precision and craft of the highest caliber. Good thing too, since his other job is high performance racing cars.
When Steve uses words I recognize but not in the context he's using them, I don't think "whoa, mistake." I look the word up. And yes indeed, I learn something. He's correct. I trust him because I know that he's meticulous. Sure he's made mistakes, and he's got a few pages from me with red marks to prove it. But, he's also as careful a writer as I've seen, and that's one of the reasons I'm very pleased to represent him.
Mistakes aren't the problem in query letters. Making the wrong mistakes: that's the problem.