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Query Saturday: No. 7 At Any Price

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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Dear __________

AT ANY PRICE is a contemporary paranormal with a strong erotic romance. The word count is 97,000. Heat level is comparable to a Berkley Heat novel. Relationship is m/f. AT ANY PRICE is the first of a three book series.

Humans are not alone and never have been.

In the face of a terrorist attack, two strangers are forced to make the right choice and reveal natural abilities that are much more than human. The gifted telepath and the warrior king find they have bigger problems than saving the world. Drawn together by honor, bound by genetics, surviving plunges them into an intimate relationship and triggers the return of a race known as Keepers.

Heather is the woman Alex would have pursued if they’d been given that freedom. Now she is the lover he will defend. Survival of the species comes at a price and Alex will make any choice to ensure Heather is not the one to pay it.

Humans are not alone and never will be.

I’m an e-published author who has released eight books ranging from short stories to full length novels. I currently have one in print through major print house name removed and three in print through epublisher name removed.

If you are interested, I will gladly send you either the first three chapters of this story, or the complete manuscript. I have enclosed a synopsis and a SASE for your reply. If you prefer, you can send an e-mail. Thanks very much for your time and consideration

Author

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Interested in participating in Query Saturday? 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

15 Comments

  1. Nora Roberts
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 05:58:05

    Sorry, grammar pet peeve.

    ~Drawn together by honor, bound by genetics, surviving plunges them into an intimate relationship and triggers the return of a race known as Keepers. ~

    This sentence structure makes ‘surviving’ what is drawn together and bound by. Maybe: ‘As *they* are drawn together, etc.’ Then end the sentence at relationship before it becomes overlong. Change to ‘This intimacy (if I’m reading it correctly) triggers the return, etc.’

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  2. Erastes
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 06:07:48

    It’s all too woolly. What’s it ABOUT? “forced to make the right choice “ – what does that mean?

    Heather is the woman Alex would have pursued if they'd been given that freedom. Now she is the lover he will defend. Survival of the species comes at a price

    again, just woolly. It doesn’t give any hints of what the story is about, at all. And repeating the tag line just makes it sound like a movie trailer.

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  3. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 07:39:09

    This might just be me but it reads more like a blurb than a query letter. However, it definitely caught my interest.

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  4. Lynne Connolly
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 07:43:54

    What is the book about? What’s its tone? I’m guessing it’s dark, but that’s only guessing.
    And what makes it different from all the other urban fantasies out there? It might be the author’s voice, in which case the plot is kinda behind all that, but it reads like a lot of other books.
    I’d say great, but try to make it more specific. If I was an agent or editor, I’d request a partial from this, to see what the author’s voice is like, but only because urban fantasy is hot right now.

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  5. Kristen
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 08:22:04

    What’s a bigger problem than saving the world? I mean, if you don’t save the world, does anything else really matter?

    All in all, it’s kind of interesting, but too vague.

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  6. DS
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 08:45:28

    Sound generic but this is one of the better ones that has shown up here. I have to agree with the grammar. I just skipped over that sentence when I first read it. I suppose it’s too much to hope Heather is the warrior king and Alex is the gifted telepath. I hate it when the girl always has to be the telepath. Bet she heals people too. *sigh* Any chance Alex is an Alexander the Great avatar?

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  7. Keishon
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 09:39:43

    Ah, it sounds bit dry. A little short on the details there. Not your fault, but any mention of genetics, brings flashes of my college days when I hated taking the class. Also, am I to understand that Heather and Alex spawn a new species?

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  8. Jill Sorenson
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 09:49:47

    I like this part:

    surviving plunges them into an intimate relationship and triggers the return of a race known as Keepers.

    The title reminds me of a Harlequin Presents. Doesn’t sound paranormal.

    Congrats on your other successes and good luck!

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  9. Ann Bruce
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 10:07:10

    surviving plunges them into an intimate relationship and triggers the return of a race known as Keepers

    I’m confused. Are they the equivalent of Adam and Eve and repopulated the Earth? Or was the sexing so great and magical it ripped a hole in the space-time continuum/opened an interdimensional portal/created a space bridge, thereby allowing the Keepers to cross over?

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  10. Tawny Taylor
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 10:31:23

    The concern I have about this query is a big-picture thing. There’s a lot of plot in the summary, while the romance plays a distant second. The summary would be fine if the book were an action-adventure story. But based on the opening paragraph, this is a romance, and romance readers are looking for a deeper connection to the H/h. Some people may disagree with me on this, but I would suggest the author consider shifting the balance in the summary to highlight more of the romantic journey, the inner journey the characters take, and focus less on the plot.

    Also, I see plenty of opportunity to tighten up the writing. Take the first two sentences, “AT ANY PRICE is a contemporary paranormal with a strong erotic romance. The word count is 97,000.” Instead, the author could write, “AT ANY PRICE, a 97,000 word paranormal erotic romance, is the first of a three book series.” Clear and concise.

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  11. Anonymous
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 10:42:35

    Grammar, lots of grammar issues. Some parts you have to read twice to try to understand and that’s not good. Editors/agents don’t want to have to work so hard when they’ve got a stack ten inches thick of queries to go through. Explain in simpler terms.

    In the face of a terrorist attack, two strangers are forced to make the right choice and reveal natural abilities that are much more than human.

    Heather is the woman Alex would have pursued if they'd been given that freedom. Now she is the lover he will defend.

    These two sentences/facts kind of contradict one another don’t they?

    Need more story, more intimacy than fact. What is the focus of the book? The plot? Or the relationship? I’d say decide on that and then go from there writing the query. If it’s the romance, how do they get through this together? What are they up against? Again, intimacy versus facts.

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  12. Marjorie Liu
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 11:13:39

    I actually like the premise. I think it has a lot of potential, but needs to be a) clarified, and b) tightened up a bit more.

    In the face of a terrorist attack, two strangers are forced to make the right choice and reveal natural abilities that are much more than human.

    What is it about the terrorist attack that forces two strangers (inspiring yet another question not answered later: are they of the same race, differing races, warring factions, etc) to make the right choice (right, by what standards)?

    The gifted telepath and the warrior king find they have bigger problems than saving the world.

    What problems? Human reaction? Who do they need to save the world from? Those terrorists?

    Drawn together by honor, bound by genetics, surviving plunges them into an intimate relationship and triggers the return of a race known as Keepers.

    Unclear, but with fascinating potential: Why are they bound by genetics? What kind of honor? Who are they trying to survive against? And is it their relationship that triggers the return of the Keepers?

    Heather is the woman Alex would have pursued if they'd been given that freedom.

    Names should have been mentioned up front. Maybe even a bit more background about who and what they are. Also…why doesn’t he have the freedom to pursue her? Who is controlling them?

    Now she is the lover he will defend. Survival of the species comes at a price and Alex will make any choice to ensure Heather is not the one to pay it.

    Be more specific. Survival of the human species, their species (assuming they are part of the same species)? Why would Heather have to pay the ultimate price? Is she a target of the Keepers?

    Anyway, not that I’m an expert on query letters, but it seems to me that you might be better off organizing this like a term paper — thesis, supporting arguments, followed by a conclusion. Once you answer/clarify some basic questions, I think you’ll have yourself a winner. The premise is great!

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  13. Marjorie Liu
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 12:40:39

    A bit of clarification to what I said above — when I talk about differing races, I am referring to the question of whether they are different species. Genetic, biological, etc.

    ReplyReply

  14. K. Z. Snow
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 13:32:08

    I agree with others’ comments. The query is too long on implication–strikes me as a bit coy, actually–and too short on explanation. It left me utterly confused. Marjorie pretty well nailed the issue with her questions.

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  15. Jill Myles
    Mar 15, 2008 @ 13:53:35

    I think this person can write (definitely) but the query letter doesn’t tell us anything about the actual /story/. There is a guy, there is a girl. Someone’s a telepath, someone’s a warrior. Someone’s drawn together.

    This could be /anything/. There’s nothing here that zings me and makes me think “WOW I’ve got to read this!” Which is, I think, just the query itself – because this sort of thing is totally my bag, baby.

    And IMO you don’t really have to state that the relationship is m/f. I think that’s the ‘default’ for NY publishing. Anything else and you should probably state it, tho.

    /Opinion

    ReplyReply

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