Author Topic: The first line  (Read 8081 times)

Offline teen-writer

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The first line
« on: August 10, 2007, 11:24:54 PM »
If the agent you are querying does not represent a work similar to yours, but still represents/expresses interest in your genre, how do you begin the query?

Offline Diowe

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Re: The first line
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2007, 12:26:34 AM »
I don't think you HAVE to compare your work to someone the agent's already signed. In fact, I've read on some agents' blogs that they consider it a waste of time and space. Personally, I do like to compare though because it shows you've researched them. If I can't find an exact match, I use pieces and parts. Perhaps you have the same tone or the same sense of humor or the same flare for drama or cliff-hanging suspense as someone they rep?

Hope that helps!

Offline teen-writer

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Re: The first line
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2007, 12:37:52 AM »
Yes, it helps a bit, but that brings me to another brick wall. If I compare something like tone/humor/style, I run the risk of sounding pretentious.

There are two agents that I would LOVE to have represent me, and I know that they would like my work, but they don't have anything really similar to my book.

Agent 1: Russell Galen. His exact words: "In fiction, my passion is novels which stretch the bounds of reality." He does represent some contemporary/historical novels that have a paranormal twist to them, but none are like my story. Is there a way I can use this quote in my query without sounding corny?

Agent 2: Miriam Kriss. She's just a fanatic of urban fantasy, so maybe just mentioning that my book is an urban fantasy should be enough. 

Offline Chelc

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Re: The first line
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2007, 08:10:00 PM »
I really don't think comparing a book should go any farther than "You represent --- which is similar to mine" or at least in better phrasing than that. Simple. I wouldn't risk sounding pretentious, even if it's only in the slightest way.

Offline Diowe

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Re: The first line
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2007, 10:37:58 PM »
You could mention the source of the quote and then paraphrase their stated preferences. Then you could dive right into your story and show them how it fits their tastes.

Just a thought. I know this is tricky and the last thing we want to do is sound pretentious. However, I once queried an editor, stating something like, "readers who enjoy the light-hearted humor in such-and-such might also enjoy my..." Pretty pretentious right there. But he requested a full read... (although I must have been wrong about that because he didn't sign me!)  :(

Offline teen-writer

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Re: The first line
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2007, 10:51:41 PM »
Ooh I really like that. I think I'll use it.

Now what do I say for an agent that doesn't represent anything like my book, and has no stated preferences for genre?

Offline Diowe

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Re: The first line
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2007, 10:56:51 PM »
Well that's when you fall back on my favorite first line of all: "I know you will love this book because EVERYONE ELSE DOES!"  :inocent:

(sorry. felt compelled to say that.)

In that case, I'd forego the first line altogether and jump right in.

Offline teen-writer

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Re: The first line
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2007, 11:01:19 PM »
Really? I was thinking something more along the lines of, "I am seeking representation for MURDER FROM HEAVEN, a 56,500 adult urban fantasy."

I've heard agents hate it when you jump right in to the summary.

Offline Diowe

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Re: The first line
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2007, 11:05:35 PM »
For sure. I didn't mean you should skip that line! I just meant to forego the comparison line.

Offline teen-writer

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Re: The first line
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2007, 11:07:14 PM »
Oh OK.  ;D

Offline Cole Gibsen

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Re: The first line
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2007, 10:44:28 AM »
You can also do something like, "I read on your website that your interests include...(fantasy, etc). Because of this I thought you would be interested in my book -----, an 83,000 page (urban fantasy) that is told from the point of view of-------. etc. etc.

Now you've established practically everything they want to know in the first couple of sentences.
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face,and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may no spiders fall on your head.

website: www.colegibsen.com
blog: www.colegibsen.blogspot.com

Offline teen-writer

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Re: The first line
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2007, 01:46:41 PM »
Ooh I like that. thank you!

Offline Chelc

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Re: The first line
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2007, 07:10:14 PM »
...I thought you would be interested in my book -----, an 83,000 page (urban fantasy)...
Did you mean to say 83,000 WORDS?
 :rolf:

Offline Cole Gibsen

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Re: The first line
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2007, 08:08:29 PM »
Of course not. I always mean exactly what I say.  ;D  I'm currently working on an 83,000 page book titled "Things to do with a Rubber Band", and once it's published you all better read every last word of it!  :bonk:
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face,and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may no spiders fall on your head.

website: www.colegibsen.com
blog: www.colegibsen.blogspot.com

Offline Chelc

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Re: The first line
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2007, 08:19:45 PM »
Ooh. Gotcha.
I'll be sure to do just that.  ;)