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Query Saturday: Minotaur

Welcome to Query Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a query to be read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. Published authors may do so under their own name or anonymously.

Readers, though, the way that I look at it is this: Would the hook itself interest you in reading the book. If yes, what interests you and if not, what would you change to make it more appealing?

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[date] [agent address]

Dear [agent name],

I’m seeking representation for a contemporary urban fantasy/paranormal romance, Minotaur. It is a little over 90,000 words.

Ferdinand MacTaurus is a minotaur in search of his cloven roots. He’s looking for his father, Abelard, who’s been missing for years. Stranded during a blizzard, he meets Lilith and Maggie tramping through the snow. They offer him a place to live in exchange for a little light bookkeeping (he’s an accountant with a Harvard degree). Ferdinand’s involvement with Maggie gets him a bit too much in touch with the parts of him that are bull. Their relationship goes through a series of ups and downs as Ferdinand learns to channel his inner animal.

At the same time, Ferdinand’s search for his father has triggered the enmity of powerful people. That, and Lilith’s social activism, leads to Ferdinand being framed for murder. Imprisoned, he is taken off to be tortured, but this final indignity arouses the beast in him, and he fights off his captors. When a tape of the torture session is posted on GrueTube, public opinion turns in his favor. It seems people will overlook the horns and tail, judge him for who he is rather than what he appears to be, and give him a fair shake.

But the forces of evil have rigged the jury. On trial for his life, it looks like he is headed for the Big Barbeque when Abelard MacTaurus returns, armed with a faux leather briefcase and a lot of legal legerdemain. Ferdinand is acquitted when the victim comes back from the dead to testify.

To summarize, this book has a soft core of minotaur romance that is wrapped in darkly satiric shell and sprinkled with crunchy bits of comedy. I think it would appeal to readers who like distinctly different characters and a lighthearted treatment of the paranormal genre.

I’ve lived in Japan, India, Brazil, and Guatemala and have written professional reports while working as an archeologist and marine biologist. Currently I’m writing full time.

If you are interested in Minotaur I can send a synopsis, sample chapters, and/or the whole book. Thank you.

Sincerely,

[my name and address here] [SASE enclosed]

***

In addition to feedback on the letter, I’m hoping your readers will address whether or not the querying-a-literary-agent is really a viable approach for an unpublished writer with no industry contacts. I’m beginning to think that entering contests and subbing to publishers who consider un-agented work would be more productive. Of the authors who read your blog, I wonder how many got their start with a cold query? If you’d pose that question, I’d be grateful.

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Interested in participating as an author or an aspiring author? Send your query to jane at dearauthor.com. All queries are kept confidential.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

34 Comments

  1. Ann Somerville
    May 10, 2008 @ 04:35:07

    Not sure how someone could have the hide to post something like this, because personally, I think it’s a load of bull and I wouldn’t steak my reputation on a piece like this. Good for Ferdinand not being cowed, though. I don’t know in which direction to steer the author. Perhaps a publisher who likes good old horny romance?

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  2. Kathleen
    May 10, 2008 @ 06:42:37

    I’m… um… wondering if this is a serious query? Ferdinand the bull? A minotaur is an accountant? With a Harvard degree?

    If it IS a serious query, then I DO want to be helpful. Forgive my laughs, for I honestly did wonder, for a moment, if this was a spoof story. (There have been some good ones written!) So I’ll say…

    Perhaps you’ve highlighted the wrong parts of your story? The moment I read the title, I instantly assumed that we were talking about the ancient minotaur legend in some way. When you mention that he’s searching for his history, this clues me in that this minotaur is not the monster bad guy, but the story’s about him, and he’s somehow part human. But that still wasn’t enough for the accountant with Harvard degree to do anything but throw me for a loop. We need some sort of clue, first off, about the world-building. That this is the modern age, and that minotaurs are now ________________.

    The Ferdinand MacTaurus hit me a lot like a goofy redhead with big feet named Robert MacDonnell would have, so I’d change that.

    As for the rest… well, the beginning lost me so much, that I really don’t know what to suggest. Hopefully a re-work on the beginning will help the rest make more sense.

    re: your question.

    Having no contacts is par for the course, but querying is still the best way to go about getting published, IMO. By all means, submit to a contest or two if you’d like the feedback, for it CAN give you some valuable insight on the first 25-30 pages of your story. But those that get published this way are, I think, even fewer and farther between than those who get there through querying.

    Look at it this way. A great percentage of the population want to write a book. (Including you and I.) A much, much smaller percentage actually finish one. (Again, including you and I.) Out of those, even fewer actually have the skills to write one worth publishing… those skills being grammar, world-building, plot-construction, plot execution, clarity, and the ability to write emotion, among other things. This is where you, (and I, BTW) are right now. We’re trying to grow our skills in these, to see if we can do it well enough to “make the grade.”

    IF we do, then there’s the question of how we’ll get published. Agents are looking for writers with the above, but mostly, they’re looking for stories they love. If they love one, then they’ll find an agent who also loves it… and they’ve got the contacts to know. Contests, however, are usually judged according to a strict set of “rules.” Many successful books break those rules, but the very nature of a contest requires those rules anyway. Furthermore, many contests are judged by people who might not be any better of a writer than you or I… so how do we know that they’re really going to be able to choose the best entry? Even if an agent might love your book, the first level of contest judges might disqualify it from the higher rounds. It DOES happen. Lots of writers never final in contests, but still end up selling their book through an agent. But let’s say that you DO make the final round of your eighth contest, after you manage to change your first 25 pages to suit contest judges, based off of the input you’ve received from #1-7. What are the chances that the ONE editor who gets the finals will actually love your book? They have personal tastes, just like agents, and just like us.

    So, if the book’s not good enough, then neither will work. BUT, if it IS, then your chances of finding an agent are much, much greater than getting past the strict rule-following of inexperienced contest judging, AND happening to hit the one editor that will love your book.

    So no, I think that you need to work on your query some more, perhaps work on your book (I’m doing a total re-write of mine.), and go back to querying. If you don’t get anywhere, start a new book, and see if your skills improve with that one far enough to get published. At least, that’s what my plan currently is.

    ReplyReply

  3. vanessa jaye
    May 10, 2008 @ 07:15:36

    I gonna treat this as a real query, because like Anne, I have my doubts.

    Ferdinand and Abelard McTaurus? LOL.

    I think with this book it’s a IAITE(TM Leslie Wainger, Executive Editor at Harlequin Books): It’s All In The Execution. It sounds like it could be a funny as hell wacky romance, or a wince-worthy, corny, pratfall of a novel. The author might want to pick an agent that wants sample pages with the query.

    Aside from that, where’s the plot? Or the conflict?

    The characters are reading a bit 2 dimensional–he’s a Harvard educated accountant(??) and a Bullshitter, er Bull-shifter. The ladies (and I’m not sure which is the heroine) are activists (of what?) Who are these people? What’s motivating them internally/emotionally, and externally/plotwise?

    The agent needs to see how the H/h are in opposition. That's the story. It's missing here.

    Why is he looking for his dad (beside the fact that he’s missing)? Where’s the sense of urgency? What’s the story behind “Ferdinand's search for his father has triggered the enmity of powerful people.” and “the forces of evil have rigged the jury”? You also sorta of threw in a murder there, with no set-up referenced. And where are they? You mention the snow-storm, but what’s country, city, planet?

    While you’ve done a really great job with presenting your voice in this query, otherwise it’s a bit of a mess. You might want to tone down the puns and beef up the material. At the moment this is all sizzle and no steak.

    As for your question, you might want to try a couple of well respected contests, with the aim of getting feedback. Kathleen makes a lot of good points about the pitfalls of contests, but you might find that there are one or two things that all the judges omment on and those are the things you might need to address.

    I’m not sure if you have a crit partner(s) but a good partner is worth their weight in gold. Definitely take the time to research reputable agents who represent the genre(s) you write, but you might not get much feedback from an agent re what is working or not working with your writing. The same goes for a publisher (again, do your research here).

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  4. Anne Douglas
    May 10, 2008 @ 07:51:13

    Reading the query I find it a bit more brief synopsis than a good hook. But then I don’t think I can write a query letter to save myself, so I’m not exactly in the know :).

    From a reader perspective I’d be so all over that story, rofl. It sounds fun, full of pun humor and takes the piss out of itself – which is good reading on a dull afternoon for me.

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  5. Tracey
    May 10, 2008 @ 08:24:03

    It’s got to be a joke. I can see all of these puns existing in the manuscript (Piers Anthony, for example, has made a career out of punning), but not in a serious query letter.

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  6. Angela
    May 10, 2008 @ 09:10:37

    I don’t know–this sounds pretty credible to me. Based on the query, it sounds funny and dark.

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  7. Gennita Low
    May 10, 2008 @ 09:38:40

    Nonetheless, this query letter is not working because so far, everyone is discussing about whether it’s a real query or a joke. I suspect the agent would be passing this letter around the office too. So if it is a serious query, the writer failed.

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  8. NHS
    May 10, 2008 @ 09:52:42

    I recently saw a story with this name on a list of contest finalists so I think it is safe to assume that this is the same story and it is legitimate and has a chance at publication.

    You need to lead with the romance and the romantic conflict. If this is indeed the same story that finaled do mention that. IMHO I think the query needs to be much more straight forward and professional. Part of what you’re trying to convey here is that you are a professional and take your career as a writer seriously.

    And maybe this is the one place where it might be okay to “tell” the agent that the story is witty with plenty of self deprecating humor rather than trying to “show” too much of it the query. For example:

    To summarize, this book has a soft core of minotaur romance that is wrapped in darkly satiric shell and sprinkled with crunchy bits of comedy.

    is cute and creative but way too kitschy for a query letter.

    Good luck.

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  9. Libby
    May 10, 2008 @ 10:06:16

    *marching to the beat of my own drum, here*

    OK, I actually would like to read the book! The query did come off more like a synopsis, so I think you could definitely work on making it more query-like (check out the Absolute Write site’s Share Your Work forum for guidance, they’re so helpful there!). Vanessa’s suggestions are right on the money, though.

    I would personally love to see more diverse fantasy creatures amongst the other creatures prowling the shelves right now, and I have to say that seeing a minotaur would immediately intrigue me. I would so buy that. I do think with the author’s professional credits and world travel, there is a lot of potential for something damn cool here, far beyond the ordinary (and trust me when I say I’ve read a lot of ordinary lately).

    To answer your question, IMO, people can write 150K pages of total crap, but write the query letter to conquer all query letters because they’ve spent weeks/months polishing it. Have you checked Tor’s submission guidelines? They don’t even want a query ;)

    Right now, I would say that I don’t think I would enter a contest, just because I’ve read so many horror stories about them. But if I could afford it (and if I had a finished MS) I would take advantage of writers’ conferences like RWA and such, just to get the face time with agents and pubs (in addition to the networking possibilities and the incredible classes).

    And don’t forget you can always sub directly to publishers and if you’re given an offer, you can contact agents and let them know you already have one on the table. It’s not a guarantee, but I have read that many authors have done that successfully.

    Best wishes to you!

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  10. Jessica Barksdale Inclan
    May 10, 2008 @ 10:07:08

    What first struck me is how fragmented we are with our labels and types of books: contemporary urban fantasy/paranormal romance. Throw a minotaur in there, and it is very specific.

    I kept seeing the children’s book in my mind as I read, and then when I read that Ferdinand was an accountant, I started to laugh. By the time I got to the word crunchy, I was wondering if this was in fact, true.

    Maybe I am missing something, I thought, and then I clicked on the responses. So I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one with doubts about the veracity of this storyline and plot and query.

    But if it was in a contest and is true, I would really lose the bull reference in terms of the name. I know that mythological creatures and beasties in general are big now, but when Maggie gets him in touch with parts of him that are too much “bull,” I thought of bull parts and Maggie and touching, and I went from beasties to bestiality.

    Many characters are shifting these days back and forth from cats to human form, from wolf to human form, etc, etc, but sometimes, I don’t want to go there. That’s really not a valid comment about this query as there is a market for those stories.

    If the story works well, if it has finaled in a contest, then it must work on some level. So I would work this query and then send our your agent package. But I would take the advice of the readers above and rework it.

    Jessica Inclan

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  11. Jill Sorenson
    May 10, 2008 @ 10:42:30

    For me, romance and satire are a problematic mix. Jane (I think) did a recent positive review of a Harlequin Presents novel that she described as subversive, and maybe even a satire of the Presents line. (I’m paraphrasing, and probably badly.) The difference here is that your characters seem farcical. More like caricatures?

    A key ingredient to a romance novel, even an urban fantasy/comdedy, is heart. If your hero is a satirical figure, meant to be mocked, how can the reader connect to him on an emotional level?

    Your idea is very original, the writing is excellent, and parts of this query made me smile. Funny is great! Vickie Lewis Thompson does wonderful paranormal comedies. But romance and satire? I’m not so sure.

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  12. Ciar Cullen
    May 10, 2008 @ 11:15:43

    Hey, Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony got published with things far more outlandish. If it’s serious, and executed properly, I’d buy it LOL But I do not know who would publish it.

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  13. Jill Myles
    May 10, 2008 @ 12:10:31

    Actually, kitchsy and punny will totally work in the query letter, if the book matches the query. It worked for me – I had a slang-filled query letter full of yuks that got me an agent. Just make sure that the curtains match the drapes, or however that saying goes (Boy, I suspect I totally hosed that, didn’t I?).

    I thought it was funny, interesting, and well written, but the problem lies in the summary. You are giving a short synopsis of your book, and not an actual ‘hook’. Make it short, make it punchy, and make it half as long as it currently is.

    Another thing to think about – you talk about a series of events that seem to ‘happen’ to Ferdinand. I think the story might be stronger if you wrote the query from the POV of Ferdinand himself (not first person, just from his angle). It would make your MC more proactive in the eyes of the reader.

    Hope this helps! Good luck (and I’m totally envious of the archaeology bio, btw. sigh)

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  14. Marianne McA
    May 10, 2008 @ 12:15:06

    It’s so different, I’m not quite sure what I think. Perhaps that’s because I don’t read much paranormal romance.
    From my pov, it’s the sort of thing I might well read if it was sold to me as a comic novel – a Pratchett, Fforde, Rankin sort of thing. (Diane Wynne Jones had a book where the heroine was a gryphon, worked okay.) Those sort of books do sometimes have a romantic structure – Fforde’s Thursday Next reuniting with Landen Parke-Laine, or Pratchett’s Moist von Lipwig falling for Adora Belle Dearheart.

    As a romance – I don’t know – I just can’t imagine it as a romance. I read romance for the emotional payoff, and it’s hard to imagine feeling emotionally engaged with this couple. Still, it’s so far from anything I’ve read as a romance, that that might be a failure of imagination on my part.

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  15. (Jān)
    May 10, 2008 @ 12:34:19

    I think that instead of trying to be clever in your letter, you should be straightforward and save cleverness for your book.

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  16. Michelle Moran
    May 10, 2008 @ 12:35:25

    As several others have pointed put, if this is a serious query letter, I would go with a serious tone and leave out the “soft core” and “crunchy” bits. I know Jill Myles said it worked for her, and I suspect that’s because she worked incredibly hard to hone her query and make sure it didn’t come off as silly versus funny. It can be done, but at the risk of having the humor fall flat with an agent who might otherwise have asked to see the book and loved it.

    As for whether unpublished authors can find an agent by sending out query letters, this is how I found my agent, and subsequently published two novels. So assuming this is a real query, good luck!

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  17. K. Z. Snow
    May 10, 2008 @ 13:25:23

    I dunno. I had trouble focusing on the query itself, because the plot summary was a little too much for me to swallow. Ferdinand McTaurus sounds cartoonish (well, hell, the whole story does), and the mix of romance, torture, courtroom drama, and pop culture — with a dash of resurrectionism thrown in — is just…just…indigestible.

    Sorry.

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  18. Angela
    May 10, 2008 @ 14:43:37

    LoL. I guess I’m one of few. I found the query hilarious and it told me all I needed to know about the book. Isn’t that what a query letter is or something? Selling the writing voice along with the hook?

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  19. (Jān)
    May 10, 2008 @ 14:59:15

    I don’t know, Angela. From the letters I’ve seen, people don’t carry their prose over into their letters. They talk about the book, but don’t rewrite it in the letter.

    Plus, with humor being so subjective, especially this kind of humor which obviously irritates a number of people, I’d say a writer is better off not risking annoying the person he’s trying to convince to sell this to others.

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  20. Seressia
    May 10, 2008 @ 15:48:04

    After debating whether this could possibly be real or not, I decided that it could work…but not as a romance. I thought more along the lines of Eric Garcia’s Dinosaur Mafia mystery series, in which he posits that dinosaurs didn’t go extinct, they just wear latex (costumes, that is).

    Your query is a little too synopsis-like (also sounds like a guy wrote it–don’t know why I get that vibe, maybe the lack of detailing the romance, so please accept my apologies if you aren’t in fact male.) You’re giving more details than anyone needs, especially for those agents who want a synopsis and first three as your official query, rather than just a letter. Also, if you’re calling this a romance, the query should focus on that. Otherwise, it sounds like “an oddball romantic urban fantasy in the vein of Anonymous Rex.”

    My advice: if you want to keep the humor in the letter, target those agents and publishers of Eric Garcia, Simon R Green, or even Jim Butcher. I can’t say, based on the way your query is written, that it’s viable as a romance.

    And yes, while there are some contests that offer phenomenal feedback, querying and landing an agent would be the best way to go.

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  21. Sherry Thomas
    May 10, 2008 @ 16:02:44

    I don’t know whether this is a joke query, but the recent accounting grad in me said wait a minute when I saw the “accountant with a Harvard degree” bit.

    Because I’ve never heard of a Harvard accountant.

    A little google search led to this article from the Harvard Crimson.

    The money quote:

    Harvard administrators and professors say that an accounting class at the College is not being considered, despite the complaints of some students.

    And if I read the article correctly, no accounting classes are offered at all at the undergrad level and one, count that, one accounting course offered at the graduate level.

    Ferdinand needs an accounting degree from UT, that’s what. We are the #1 accounting program in the country. :-)

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  22. Colleen Gleason
    May 10, 2008 @ 16:19:26

    I got my start with a cold query and landed my agent in that way. That was after many, many other submissions and rejections over the years.

    But that’s how it happened for me–a cold query and then the process began.

    It also just happened that way for a good friend of mine–a cold query started her in the process, and now she’s repped by the same agent who handles some EXTREMELY big names.

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  23. Fae Sutherland
    May 10, 2008 @ 16:28:25

    I swear I have read that “soft core/shell/crunchy bits” in a query before somewhere. Might have been on an agent blog, and if so leads me to believe this is actually a real query.

    I, personally, like a bit of comedy/irreverence thrown into a query. I’m a quirky person and I hate coming off as staid and Miss Business Proper when I’m so not. But…there is a limit and I’m pretty sure this query crosses that limit. Keep some of the humor and quirkiness, because it’s fun and the book sounds fun too, but just tone it down a bit.

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  24. Maya Reynolds
    May 10, 2008 @ 18:34:37

    Sherry Thomas said:

    Ferdinand needs an accounting degree from UT, that's what. We are the #1 accounting program in the country. :-)

    I’m with Sherry. Especially since the mascot for the University of Texas is Bevo, a long-horned Texas steer.

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  25. kirsten saell
    May 10, 2008 @ 18:36:23

    I’m not going to speak in regard to the book itself, since I’m not a big fan of paranormal in the first place.

    The query? Quirky and funny is okay in a query, but you really have to keep it tight and stick with only a few elements. The trick is making those few elements pop–and humor can do that.

    That humor is not working to its full potential here, IMO, because it’s getting bogged down. Too much synopsis, not enough hook. You want to go for 200-250 words, 300 at the upper limit. This is a little heavy. In a query, you’re trying to convey the feel of the story, not necessarily the plot. Conflict counts for a lot. You want to convey that conflict (and quirky humor) and use as few words as possible to do it.

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  26. kirsten saell
    May 10, 2008 @ 18:41:57

    I would also add to Libby’s rec of Absolute Write, a trip to Evil Editor. If you read through the early archives of his query critiques and rewrites, you’ll find a ton of useful stuff.

    Plus, he’s freakin’ hilarious.

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  27. kirsten saell
    May 10, 2008 @ 18:46:43

    I don't know, Angela. From the letters I've seen, people don't carry their prose over into their letters. They talk about the book, but don't rewrite it in the letter.

    I’ve actually gotten a lot of advice that voice is really important in a query, ie: if your book is supposed to be light-hearted, or serious litfic, or angsty, or mysterious, your description of the book in your query should reflect that. And I strongly believe (though I could be wrong) that an agent’s or editor’s interest in a particular author has more to do with their writing voice than the plot of a single book. If you can convey that voice in your query hook, that can’t hurt.

    Edited for typos

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  28. Maya
    May 10, 2008 @ 20:06:38

    well it certainly made me laugh!
    love the names ferdinand and abelard – which, to me, makes the names of the female characters stand out as oddly garden-variety by comparison (unless there is some lilith/maggie bovine legend of which i’m unaware?)
    love the faux-leather briefcase.
    where has abelard been all this time and how did he know of ferdinand’s situation to pop up now?
    what does sophie activate?
    love ‘cloven roots’, ‘grue-tube’ and ‘big BBQ’.

    i can see how a marine biologist/archaeologist would be able to come up with imaginative plots – good luck with this! i’d sure buy it.

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  29. NHS
    May 10, 2008 @ 21:13:27

    I've actually gotten a lot of advice that voice is really important in a query, ie: if your book is supposed to be light-hearted, or serious litfic, or angsty, or mysterious, your description of the book in your query should reflect that.

    Here’s where opinions very widely. I just had a multi-published author who’s opinion I value highly tell me that editors/agents do NOT look for your voice in the query or even the synopsis for that matter. They look to see if your book is interesting and fresh with good conflict, intriguing characters and a basic level of professionalism, period. They don’t worry about your voice until the partial. But there is no reason why the fact that your book is funny or serious or dark or light-hearted can’t explained in the query.

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  30. kirsten saell
    May 10, 2008 @ 21:37:00

    They look to see if your book is interesting and fresh with good conflict, intriguing characters and a basic level of professionalism,

    In most cases, there’s no reason you can’t do those things and showcase your voice. I wouldn’t recommend writing a query using invented colloquialisms a la Clockwork Orange, but you can give a feel for your style with your hook.

    You know, the Happy Hooker Crapometer is a good resource, too. Archives, Miss Snark. I think it’s all indexed and easy to find.

    ETA: Perhaps they don’t worry about your voice until the partial because they know how difficult it can be to convey in a query and that even good authors can suck at that.

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  31. Nikki
    May 11, 2008 @ 11:06:50

    *delurking*

    Why couldn’t Ferdinand be an ‘accountant with a Harvard degree’? Could he not have a degree in history or maths and then go on to some specific accountancy training? The author doesn’t say it’s a degree in accountancy.

    I think the story sounds quite fun, contrary to the prevailing opinion. Only, the query seems quite long to me.

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  32. vanessa jaye
    May 11, 2008 @ 13:07:11

    think the story sounds quite fun, contrary to the prevailing opinion.

    I actually think most folks do think the story sounds fun. It’s just that there’s something about the way the query is written, or the elements highlighted, that make you wonder if this is real or a joke. As Gennita pointed out, that’s not a good thing.

    Honestly, I would investigate this story further–certainly, I’d want to read an except–because it does sound different and like a fun read. But before buying I’d want to have a MUCH better feel for the story/plot/conflict.

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  33. Hortense Powdermaker
    May 24, 2008 @ 21:59:41

    Hey everyone – author here. Thanks so much for your comments. I'm coming to this thread late because I was out of town on a white-water rafting trip, and I missed the original post.

    Believe it or not, this version of the book is less outrageous than the original. Those of you who thought it was a joke – that was exactly the reaction I got when I posted a similar query on Evil Editor's blog back in 2006 (see the archives for July – it's face lift 134). He thought I was kidding and didn't bother to tear it apart (as one of the blogistas observed, “EE is brilliant. He recognizes a joke when he sees one and isn’t going to waste his valuable time critiquing it. But DAMN this is funny shit!”). Anyway I rewrote major sections, redid the query, and yet I'm still getting gasps of disbelief from all and especially from that son-of-a-bitch, sundry.

    Jill S., K.Z. Snow – What I meant to do is tap into some Western cultural canons and turn them on their heads, like beauty and the beast (Ferdinand stays ugly, actually gets beastlier, goes from wuss to alpha male), the virgin=good, whore=bad trope (the heroines are hookers, and Lilith is a very powerful social activist), and finally, to make gentle fun of the life-after-death para-immortal-normal genre.

    Ann S. – Yes, this is a lolbull! If this book wasn't already so over the top I'd work some of your puns into it.

    Kathleen – I appreciate your feedback. I've completed three more books since this one, all of them much more conventional, so maybe I'll send out queries on those and quit focusing on contests.

    Sherry T. – I didn't know you can't get a degree in accounting from Harvard. Damn! That's an important plot device. Back to the scribbling board.

    Kirsten S., Gennita L., Jan, Michelle M., Vannessa J., NHS, Fae S. – Now I'm conflicted. The book is meant to be funny and yes, outrageous in some respects, but perhaps I'm not successfully conveying the light-heartedness in a serious enough manner? Will work on that. Because the reaction I want from a literary agent is “ooh, this sounds fresh and original,” not “what the fuck?”

    Libby – Yeah, I thought something other than vampires would be interesting.

    Michelle M., Colleen G., Seressia – Thanks for your comments as they offer some hope that if I persist I might get somewhere with this.

    Maya – Maggie is a hooker, and the name is meant to summon up a number of cultural references (Maggie from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Mary Magdalene, among others). Abelard is a Highland bull and he's been a sex slave on an Amish farm.

    Jill M., Ann D., Maya, and Angela – you all must have the same warped sense of humor that I do. Going to start reading your blogs.

    Anyway, thank you all again, and thanks to the Ja(y)nes for this valuable service. I'm going to rework the query and take everyone's advice! And here's a warning: I'll also be sending in a query for my latest, Virgins In Breeches Make Fun of the Ton, and no, it is not a joke.

    ReplyReply

  34. Anne Douglas
    May 25, 2008 @ 13:00:30

    Virgins in breeches make fun of the Ton??? Oh, I am SO there!!

    ReplyReply

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