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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2016
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    Feedback for query letter please! :)

    I would really appreciate some feedback on this query letter please. Feel free to re-word things for a nicer flow.

    Dear Ms. Collins:


    Emilia Turner is a witch. And 16th century England has no room for witches. She is set to marry Sebastian, the Duke of Lancaster, and a known witch hunter. He is ignorant to the fact that his new wife is what terrifies him most; a witch. Thus, Emilia has to play the game of pretend if she wants to survive. But her game becomes more difficult when she is introduced to Aidan Oxen, the quick-witted, clever friend of Sebastian’s, and a man who knows everything about everyone. Emilia must scheme her way if she wants to survive. But hiding who she is isn’t the only thing on her mind. She is longing and hopes to find the hidden kingdom of Valenya; a place for witches. Once there, she will no longer have to pretend. But will she find Valenya before the people find out about her?
    The Royal Curse is a tale of chaos, betrayal, and love. I am bringing themes that explain the human condition. What we do in power. What we do out of fear. And what we do for love.

    I am writing to you based on your interest in “unusual fiction”. I believe a story about a witch marrying a witch hunter can be classified as “unusual” to say the least. I have also chosen to write to you because I am a fan of the work you represent, like Erika Johansen’s The Queen of the Tearling. I believe my novel of 78,000 words can be comparable to Johansen’s work and would appease the same fans.

    I am currently taking a year off as a student enrolled in the English department at Queen’s University. What inspired me to write The Royal Curse was my own experience with living a double life. Being raised by conservative South-Eastern parents, I find myself to be a liberal who has adapted to the Western culture. Thus, there is a drastic difference between who I am and who my parents think I am.
    Only for Emilia, the stakes of being different are much higher.
    Thank you so much for your time.



    Sincerely,

    Cecilia Mar



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    I don't see why you wouldn't combine those first two sentence. The fact you don't know how to use a semicolon properly is a good indication that your manuscript is probably not ready to show an agent. Two examples:

    He is ignorant to the fact that his new wife is what terrifies him most; a witch

    That should be a full colon, not a semicolon.

    She is longing and hopes to find the hidden kingdom of Valenya; a place for witches

    That would be a comma, not a semicolon. The semicolon is used for two complete but related sentences. I'm sure you can look up exercises and stuff on Google.

    I am bringing themes that explain the human condition.

    This sounds really stiff, as if English is not your native language. I'd cut it.

    and would appease the same fans.


    Appease is the wrong word. Appeal to is what you're trying to say.

    Again, stuff like that makes me think you should really get your work edited before you try to pitch it to an agent like this. You only get one chance to make a first impression, right?

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Feb 2016
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    18
    Quote Originally Posted by cecilia-mar View Post
    I would really appreciate some feedback on this query letter please. Feel free to re-word things for a nicer flow.

    Dear Ms. Collins:


    Emilia Turner is a witch. And 16th century England has no room for witches. She is set to marry Sebastian, the Duke of Lancaster, and a known witch hunter. He is ignorant to the fact that his new wife is what terrifies him most; a witch. Thus, Emilia has to play the game of pretend if she wants to survive. But her game becomes more difficult when she is introduced to Aidan Oxen, the quick-witted, clever friend of Sebastian’s, and a man who knows everything about everyone. Emilia must scheme her way if she wants to survive. But hiding who she is isn’t the only thing on her mind. She is longing and hopes to find the hidden kingdom of Valenya; a place for witches. Once there, she will no longer have to pretend. But will she find Valenya before the people find out about her?
    The Royal Curse is a tale of chaos, betrayal, and love. I am bringing themes that explain the human condition. What we do in power. What we do out of fear. And what we do for love.

    I am writing to you based on your interest in “unusual fiction”. I believe a story about a witch marrying a witch hunter can be classified as “unusual” to say the least. I have also chosen to write to you because I am a fan of the work you represent, like Erika Johansen’s The Queen of the Tearling. I believe my novel of 78,000 words can be comparable to Johansen’s work and would appease the same fans.

    I am currently taking a year off as a student enrolled in the English department at Queen’s University. What inspired me to write The Royal Curse was my own experience with living a double life. Being raised by conservative South-Eastern parents, I find myself to be a liberal who has adapted to the Western culture. Thus, there is a drastic difference between who I am and who my parents think I am.
    Only for Emilia, the stakes of being different are much higher.
    Thank you so much for your time.



    Sincerely,

    Cecilia Mar

    Hello Cecilia. Your premise is interesting and would make for a great story. I agree with Rogue Mutt's comments and would also suggest you work on your sentence structure and tightening your copy. This letter is a bit wordy and that takes away from the flow of your summary. I suggested some cuts in red for your consideration. Best wishes for the success of your novel.

  4. #4
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    Columbus, Ohio
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    I'd start by deleting most of the third and fourth paragraphs:

    Emilia Turner is a witch. And 16th century England has no room for witches. She is set to marry Sebastian, the Duke of Lancaster, and a known witch hunter. He is ignorant to the fact that his new wife is what terrifies him most; a witch. Thus, Emilia has to play the game of pretend if she wants to survive. But her game becomes more difficult when she is introduced to Aidan Oxen, the quick-witted, clever friend of Sebastian’s, and a man who knows everything about everyone. Emilia must scheme her way if she wants to survive. But hiding who she is isn’t the only thing on her mind. She is longing and hopes to find the hidden kingdom of Valenya; a place for witches. Once there, she will no longer have to pretend. But will she find Valenya before the people find out about her?

    The Royal Curse is a 78,000 word tale of chaos, betrayal, and love.

    Thank you for your time.


    That's a decent foundation on which to build a decent query. And yeah, your writing seems a bit lacking as far as grammar and style. Who are your favorite writers?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    May 2015
    Location
    Elkins Park PA
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    343
    In part you're dealing in plot, and in part trying to hook the agent with rhetorical questions, which are pretty much a red flag for the one reading it.

    You might read Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, no matter the year (libraries seldom have the latest one) has hints, and successful query letters (or did. I haven't looked lately).

    But of more importance, as others have noted, it appears that you may not be ready to query yet. I'd suggest you post a few hundred words for critique, to give a feel for the structure and writing.

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