Sunday, February 14, 2010

Best start to a query in awhile

Dear Janet,

I’d like to say that I am looking for an agent to represent JD Salinger's inside account of the story behind the headline, “The Pope Elopes”. I’d like to say that, but in reality I am looking for representation for my (redacted)

It addresses a major problem I see in most books published today: there aren’t enough books with my name in the byline.

You will see that it has a lot of similarities with the Bible as it involves people, places and events. Hopefully because of these similarities it will move as many if not more copies.

17 comments:

Maryann Miller said...

LOL. Thanks for the chuckle.

Shain Brown said...

Gives others hope.

RBSHoo said...

I agree that this is well-written, but how close does this come to being gimmicky?

mallard said...

Since we shouldn't compare our manuscripts to other novels, is it also wrong to compare our query letters to those like this? For example:

My query letter is as funny and engaging as but rather than describing his/her book, this letter describes mine.

Linda Rader said...

I think this is a delightful query and a nice change of pace in a slush pile of letters. I would caution other writers, however, that although good, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be imitated for fear of being overused. In fact what it shows the value of being yourself, letting your own voice come through. A difficult task precisely because it can't be reduced to a formula.

Thank you for posting this. I loved the humor.

Stephanie McGee said...

Oh, that's funny.

_*rachel*_ said...

Sweet!

therese said...

Dear Janet,
I'd like to say my memoir is comparable to the Vagina Monologues but in reality it has too much happy family and religion in it.

I'd like to say my romance novel is hard core crime but in reality it's a sassy cozy.

I'd like to say you were my agent but in reality the best I can hope for is we'll kiss the same moose.

Love your blog!

Alexandra said...

Tell me that's a real query, and tell me that you asked for a partial.

K.L. Townsend said...

Oh, this was hilarious. It has me curious what kind of manuscript he has. I would assume it's funny as well.

Mireyah Wolfe said...

Okay, that was just hilarious. Thanks for the laugh, Janet! =D

Susan at Stony River said...

Cute! "The Pope Elopes" is just wonderful out loud, fun to say.

(Did this get a rejection or request for a partial? LOL)

daybydaywriter said...

HA! That's hilarious.

But I'm guessing it's still the strength of the actual book that's going to win this writer a consideration.

Can you say whether you asked to see more or passed?

Isabel Roman said...

Thanks for the chuckle this morning.

Ronda Laveen said...

I love witty and interesting people...sounds like you do too!

Sydnee said...

Every blog/agent help site I've read up to this point has told me to be extremely formal and formulaic when writing queries, so there's a bit of a disconnect here for me. So having a sense of humor is actually a good thing?

Sara J. Henry said...

Sydnee - I'm going to refer you to my friend Jamie Ford's query letter, posted over on his agent's blog, with her comments. It starts

I must admit I hate Asian stereotypes. You know the ones. Good at math. Hardworking. We all look alike. Come to think of it, that last one might hold water. After all, my father once wore a button that read “I am Chinese,” while growing up in Seattle’s Chinatown during WWII. It was the only thing that separated him from the Japanese, at least in the eyes of his Caucasian neighbors.

Not formal, not formulaic. It resulted in multiple agent offers (and the resultant book HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET is still selling like hotcakes).

I'd guess agents prefer formulaic to bizarre, but you don't have to stifle your creativity. Unless it tends toward the bizarre.