May 10 2008
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?
***[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.
Interested in participating as an author or an aspiring author? Send your query to jane at dearauthor.com. All queries are kept confidential.