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Thread: memoir query

  1. #1
    Fatema Karim
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    memoir query

    This is the query letter that I have written. I've tried to follow the basics: short, to the point, describing the conflict... but this is only my second attempt at writing a query letter. I realize that it's rough and in need of revision. I'd love any constructive criticism you all can provide! Here it is:

    The man I was engaged to (a poor Bangladeshi villager) denies ever being in a romantic relationship with anyone. According to him, the villagers were jealous that he was getting the opportunity to marry a woman who could bring him to America, which is why they spread vicious rumors about him. Some of the men threatened to kill him or jail him if he didn't get married to his girlfriend.
    I am writing this for money. I have a lousy work history, and I'm not sure what kind of job I could get which would result in the kind of savings I think I need, but I want to be able to make a couple thousand dollars; just enough so that I can buy a ticket for him to come to America, marry and support him while he's here - while I do my student teaching and while I look for a job as a teacher.
    I may be a fool, or worse, but this is my story. It is in the process of happening. I think Iíll be going to Bangladesh (after the stunt I pulled Iím not sure whether Iíll be able to) and have the chance to see him. This is a story about me trying to get the guy against tremendous odds: Bangladeshi village customs, the legal system there, my own poverty, my family and US immigration. I am also trying to deal with feeling betrayed and angry.

    Thanks for reading!



  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: memoir query

    F,
    Your story sounds like a memoir, which has different expectations than querying for fiction. I suggest you use querytracker.net to search for agents that represent memoirs, then check those agent's web sites for their submission requirements. There are many other internet resources. Here's one to get you started (it has some links to others sources too).

    Good luck,
    Stan

  3. #3
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    Re: memoir query

    I'm not entirely clear on this. It sounds like you want to publish this memoir to make enough money to bring him to America...and this is what you're telling the agent. ?????

  4. #4
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    Re: memoir query

    "I am writing this for money."
    "I am also trying to deal with feeling betrayed and angry"

    This is not a query letter, it is a rant. You're angry, betrayed and you need money. But you have not presented any storyline whatsoever, and my guess is that you haven't written anything but this misguided letter.

    Getting a book published, if you miraculously got that far, is no guarantee of making money. Lots of people believe selling a book will provide them with a steady income. For most writers, this is simply untrue.

    If you still want to pursue publication, you have to write a query letter that shows an agent the details of a storyline, not this rambling complaint letter. And you must write a manuscript worthy of publication. For a first time memoir writer without a writer's "platform" (i.e., you're already famous for something), you are unlikely to sell a memoir based solely on a pitch - you'll have to actually produce a manuscript if you are asked for it.

  5. #5
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    Re: memoir query

    I agree with the following statements. Just so you know, because I don't think you are aware of this, but when you mention any kind of money amounts, or what you are looking to get out of this...EX: I want this made into a movie, have a thousand sold copies by such and such year, and a 5k signing bonus.

    You might think these are funny, but believe me people do this. First you need to write your story what makes this different from the rest, what hardships have you faced and over came? Then when you write your query, make sure it states what is happening. Never talk about why you are writing the book, or how much money you need.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Re: memoir query

    Sounds like you're asking for a loan to tide you over while you get around to actually writing the story.

    Not gonna happen in a million years.

    If you've got a story -- write it first. Complete it. Polish it. Re-polish it. Put it away for a couple of weeks while you research agents and publishers. Re-re-polish it.

    Then get around to working on a real query.

    Good luck.

  7. #7
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    Re: memoir query

    My train of thought was cut off by little one... sorry, but agents that read, money amounts, what the writer expects from them, and all that in a query letter... LOL let me tell you where your query will end up: One rejection pile with a letter sent out, two the email trash can, or three the actual office shredder. The other two will definitely have no responses to them. I understand you might be new at this and learning is half the process.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Keith .'s Avatar
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    Re: memoir query

    ________________________________________________

    People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.
    - Bob Dylan

  9. #9
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    Re: memoir query

    Fatema, you should never tell an agent that you "have a lousy work history."

    (Does sound like you're right, Keith. Lovely pink hair, but where's its little boobies?)

    *_*

  10. #10
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    Re: memoir query

    Looks like me when I get up in the morning. Aside from the no-boob thing, of course.

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